President has future in acting

Somewhere in President Barack Obama’s short inaugural address (it only seemed long), our newly re-elected chief executive paused to deliver a pious little sermon on the evils of name-calling – and for good measure, the evils of delay, spectacle and absolutism, too.

“The Rev.” Obama crammed all those sins into a couple of sentences that might have passed for a mini-homily from some less-gifted televangelist:

“For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”

Well said, at least for an absolutist who would like his own program approved without delay. And for the country’s No. 1 political celebrity – someone who’s no slouch himself at staging spectacles like a presidential inauguration. . . .

As for name-calling, this president’s rhetoric has not been devoid of that political staple. As when, shortly before his reinauguration, he held a press conference at which he accused the opposition of just about every conceivable sin but putting innocent children at risk. (He saved that one for his press conference a couple of days later about his gun-control proposals.) He said, among other hostile things, that the GOP was “crashing the American economy,” holding it for “ransom” in order to get its way in budget negotiations, and is “consumed with partisan brinkmanship.” . . .

For someone who’s opposed to name calling, he’s pretty good at it. He somehow manages to preach against name-calling while practicing it. No doubt he’s absolutely opposed to absolutism, too. . . .

Let this be said about our president: He always sounds sincere. If he ever tires of his day job, he might try acting. Which reminds us that the Greek word for actor is the root of an English one: hypocrite.

(This is a guest editorial from The [Little Rock] Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.