The 2012 election campaign for president is going to be a tough one, but the tone that President Obama is trying to set is worlds-apart from the one Republican Mitt Romney is using.
President Obama showed that in his remarks during an appearance in Dearborn on Wednesday (April 18, 2012).
Obama, of course, drew a stark contrast with Romney's views.
"The last thing we can afford to do is to go back to the policies that got us in this mess in the first place. That's what other people running for this office want to do. They make no secret of it," he said.
But then he added, "I've got no doubt they love this country, but they are wrong (about their policies)."
Admitting that his opponent loves America is not something that Obama's foes have ever done for him. Romney himself uses code words like Obama doesn't "understand" America or Obama "apologizes" for America -- words intended to put Obama outside the mainstream of America, to make him seem foreign to us.
Romney has also tried to paint Obama as a socialist, without actually using the words, telling one audience, "he takes his political inspiration from Europe, and from the socialist-democrats in Europe.”
Romney leaves most of the dirty work to others who question Obama's citizenship or call him a "Kenyan" or a Muslim -- all ways to make Obama seem foreign, un-American, not like us, an outsider, someone who doesn't belong. In 2008, Sen. John McCain rebuked a woman at an event who called Obama an "Arab." It remains to be seen whether Romney will have the courage to do that.
Going along with the idea that Obama is an outsider, not one of us, is more than a matter of a lack of civility. It is dangerous for the nation. In times of national disasters or attacks in the past, the nation rallied around its leader. If, God forbid, something happens to our nation between now and the election, will Americans rally around someone the opposition has been telling them for years is an outsider?
Obama is willing to portray his opponent as someone who belongs. It would be better for the country if the other side would return the favor.