Make it stop, please, make it stop

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I don't think it's silly, as some have argued, to demand that Barack Obama repudiate his pastor; the first rule of being famous in America is that if someone close to you insults your country, you are required to denounce this. Perhaps it is not fair, but there you are; Pat Robertson took his after 9/11, and don't we all wish he'd taken it all the way off the air?

So I tune in to watch the speech, and I'm pretty happy with it: he's acknowledging that both sides have some reason behind the way they feel about these matters, but that nothing will get better until we all get to work on letting it go.

And then he has to go and make possibly the stupidest remark in this entire campaign--or at least, Best in Class (you can't really expect him to outdo a television anchor.) "This time we need to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you will take your job, it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit."

This is jaw-droppingly, head-shakingly, soul-cringingly, "Oh my God, maw, I think my eardrum just exploded" stupid.

"Don't be afraid of the people who don't look like you--be afraid of the people who don't look like you, and have the nerve to live somewhere else." They'll sneak over the border at night, steal your job, and sell it to some wetback hooker in Juarez.

I understand the political logic that forces Barack Obama to spend a fair amount of time hating on trade. But I sort of feel--call me a starry-eyed idealist though you will--that a speech urging Americans not to hate and fear people who are different from them, should perhaps itself forgo urging Americans to hate and fear people who are different from them. You know, to set a good example for the children.

Needless to say, CNN loves it.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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