President Barack Obama: Please Respond to Columnist Charles Krauthammer’s Questions

–Richard E. Vatz

For decades I have taught Persuasion and Media Criticism on the university level, and if there is one particular thing that frustrates me about good newspaper columns critical of the president, it is that they are never addressed by whoever is the president at that time.

Week after week, The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer substantively questions the president’s actions and motives in domestic and foreign policy. I never hear such good questions from the White House Press Corps, nor do I hear the president address them.

While letters-to-the-editor and other forums provide some addressing of the agenda of domestic and foreign policy criticisms, presidents and particularly this one just ignore them as if they do not exist.

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What follows below this paragraph is the best from today’s excellent Krauthammer column, “Bad Luck? Bad Faith?” Krauthammer makes the argument that President Obama consistently argues that the fault for America’s economic problems lies in bad luck and bad faith by Republicans, the latter representing a most serious charge that the columnist depicts as tantamount to accusing Republicans of unpatriotic motives: they are ignoring their country’s needs for craven, self-serving reasons.

“Charging one’s opponents with bad faith is the ultimate political ad hominem. It obviates argument, fact, logic, history. Conservatives resist Obama’s social-democratic, avowedly transformational agenda not just on principle, but on empirical grounds as well — the economic and moral unraveling of Europe’s social-democratic experiment, on display today from Athens to the streets of London [emphasis added].

“Obama’s answer? He doesn’t even engage. That’s the point of these ugly accusations of bad faith…”

These points deserve a presidential addressing. Mr. President, many citizens want to believe that columnist Krauthammer is incorrect, that it is Republicans and not you who are solely concerned with political gain and that there is an answer as to why this empirical evidence is not dispositive in the current economic debate.

If I may say this as just one blogger: if President Obama does not confront this criticism on the pre-eminent question of this time regarding federal spending, entitlements and the deficit and the debt which threaten our children’s future, it is he who is the politically craven politician, not the Republicans.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

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