Again and again, Republicans demand to know why President Obama won’t name the enemy. They say he’s too forgiving, too afraid of ideological conflict, too reluctant to wage all-out war, too eager to find people of good will on the other side.
Maybe they’re right. Maybe he should come out and say it: The GOP is trying to destroy him.
Anyone who has watched Obama’s genteel response to his Republican tormentors shouldn’t be surprised at his delicacy about Islam. He resists generalizations and looks for common ground, whether the context is terrorism or domestic politics. No matter what Republicans do—heckle his speeches,impugn his patriotism, shut down the government, threaten a credit default, stage countless votes to repeal his health care law—he refuses to categorically condemn them. The classic Obama line is “That’s not just my opinion,” followed by a bouquet to some Republican who thinks Obama is the devil. “That’s not just my opinion, that’s John McCain’s opinion,” says Obama. Or: “This isn’t just my position. … It’s a position that’s been taken by every Democratic and Republican president,” including “Ronald Reagan.” Or: “That’s not just my view; the majority of Republicans agree with that view.”