What Obama Should Say

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I find the contrast between Palin's emails to Beck and the president's decision to go directly to Arizona telling. Frum urges Obama to go all in on mental health:

Liberals will want the president to address gun control. Unsmart. Stokes your opposition, leads to a political contest you cannot win, and even if you do win, what really do you accomplish? A ban on extended magazines? Next time the killer will bring two guns.

But more resources for mental health services? Democrats say yay. Enhancement of power to commit the dangerously mentally ill? Will appeal to the center and right.

My own view is that Obama should not use the occasion to duck it. It must be possible to speak of the need for a more civil discourse without directly linking this mass murder to the far right's rhetoric. Obama should talk of Giffords' life and service, of the inevitability of robust debate in a democracy, of the health of lively argument ... but also of the need to remember who we are at our best. He can easily exonerate anyone but Loughner of direct responsibility for this crime, and yet also say it is an opportunity for something new, and better, and calmer.

This moment is made for this president. He wanted to depolarize the country, and failed. If he can find a way to use this as a teaching moment, without it becoming a partisan moment, the rationale for his candidacy and presidency will gain strength.

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