A wit once told a story that is perhaps apocryphal, but the nonetheless instructive, of a visitor to Princeton University. After some political discussions with a sample of students, the visitor remarked to his friend and professor at the university that the Conservative students seemed somehow sharper and more thoughtful than their Liberal counterparts. The professor responded that all Princeton students are smart, but Conservative students had to swim upstream against the general political flow of campus life had developed stronger rhetorical upper body strength than their Liberal friends.

Not only are Conservatives, particularly, those who live in “blue’’ states, forced to more deeply consider their political positions, they also learn the important lesson that those that differ with them politically are not generally enemies or adversaries. They are probably friends with whom one may have important disagreements.

One to the disadvantages of President Barack’s political life in Chicago is that he was not blessed with many friends with whom he could have robust and amicable disagreements on fundamental political issues. Instead, he spent too much time with the likes of 60s radical and bomber Bill Ayers and radical Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Obama is generally moderate in demeanor if not political philosophy. Every once in a while he apparently reveals a deep animosity with political competitors. In a speech before Hispanic votes, he exhorted, “We’re going to punish our enemies [emphasis added] and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.’’ Presumably, Obama was arguing that the majority, or at least a significant minority, of Americans that disagree with him on immigration issues are “enemies.’’ This is particularly alarming since Obama is reluctant to refer to America haters like Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadineja of Iran as enemies.

It is certainly true that the term “enemy’’ is bandied about too often in political discourse. However, a president, more than others, needs to be far above this. This is particularly true after President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list’’ was used o be badgered with IRS audits and other abuses of executive power. The president is the only elected official that represents all Americans. He needs to use less incendiary rhetoric, and it seems that the press has largely given Obama a pass.

In September 21, 2001, President George W. Bush said, “And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.’’ It was a call for those nations that try to have good relations with the US and at the same time deliberately harbor terrorists, that they would have to chose which side they are on.

The statement was not that those Americans who had disagreements with the manner in which the War on Terror is conducted were “either with or against us.’’ Nonetheless, for the next eight years this statement was used by the Left to suggest was trying to suppress dissent. Conspicuous Conservatives generally don’t do such things because they know that they will be roundly criticized in the Left-leaning press. Obama, by contrast, has not been so taught.

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