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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President

Count me as one conservative who is disappointed that President Obama's hometown will not be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

Chicago is a beautiful city that would have made a perfect backdrop for the Olympics. The President was right to fly to Copenhagen to try to land the games, not for the sake of his city, but for the good of his country. The fact President Obama failed makes me respect him more for taking the chance, and the fact many right-wing figures opposed the President's mission shows just how narrow-minded partisanship makes us all.

For the better part of 20 years, a bitterness has infected our politics that has weakened our country.

We Republicans spent eight years trying to delegitimize Bill Clinton.

Democrats spent the next eight years doing the same to George W. Bush.

Now that a Democrat is in the Oval Office again, it is the GOP who is trying to delegitimize a sitting president.

When I try to talk to Republicans about the need to break this cycle of viciousness, some cite the chapter and verse of every hateful left wing attack against George W. Bush.

Whenever I attempt to have a conversation with some Democrats about the need for us respect our president-- whether he be an Obama or a Bush-- I am told that Bush deserved whatever he got because he was a lying war criminal who hated the Constitution and loved torturing
people.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of Americans who believe we cannot continue going on this way.

You and I may disagree on how the CIA handled terror suspects. But that does not mean that you are soft on terrorism anymore than it means that I hate the Constitution.

You and I may have a different approach to Afghanistan. But just because you want to stay there another five years doesn't mean you are an imperialist. And if I believe a decade in that forsaken land is more than enough, that doesn't mean I'm soft on al Qaeda or the Taliban.

It just means that we view the world differently.

That creative tension--that intense give and take--has been what has kept America strong since Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton fought like hell in George Washington's White House.

Hamilton wanted a strong centralized government while Jefferson believed that the government that governed least governed best.

Both men were frustrated by the checks and balances that stood in the way of their agendas, but that debate shaped America for years to come.

But something has gone terribly wrong.

Today on Morning Joe, NBC News Legend Tom Brokaw remarked to Pat Buchanan about how the level of partisanship is even more intense today than during the depths of the Watergate crisis. Brokaw was commenting on Congressman Grayson's comments, but he could have easily
been talking about Joe Wilson or death panels or the bizarre claim that the President "hates all white people."

Some of the rhetoric is dangerous. But what we saw from some conservative corners regarding the President's failed Olympics bid was just plain stupid.

I'm happy for Rio and think it is past time that South America got a chance to host the Olympic Games. But put me down as one conservative who is glad my president flew across the ocean to try to bring the 2016 Games to America.

Nice try, President Obama. And thanks for taking time away from your young girls for the sake of your hometown and your country, Michelle. I know that's never an easy thing to do.

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