When a politician says he or she doesn't care what others think or that what he or she is doing is not a political move, rest assured that is exactly what the politician is concerned about. President Obama is in full out campaign mode. Like every other sitting President, the guy wants to be re-elected.
Thursday morning brought the annual Prayer Breakfast.
The president called for civility during his speech.
The president's call for a return to civility, underscored with repeated emphasis on the importance of prayer, was applauded at the breakfast attended by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. The event has been held since 1953.
The past shouldn't be "over-romanticized," the president told his audience, "but there is a sense that something is different now, something is broken -- that those of us in Washington are not serving the people as well as we should."
Here's the thing - President Obama has no credibility in the civility department. As the leader of the free world, as the leader of his Democratic party, he has been among the most partisan in Washington and his speeches have proven that. During his campaign in 2008, the press utterly ignored his nasty remarks against Republicans and Senator McCain, then Sarah Palin. Only after he made a huge faux pas by getting caught on tape mocking the strength conservatives find in religious faith and their value system did the press show some interest. More recently, Obama made remarks such as the GOP could sit in the back of the car in legislative participation. He said the GOP had no agenda to present as an alternative to his and that it was like they were sitting on the sidelines drinking slurpees instead of being active.
Obama will have to lead by example if he want a more civil atmosphere in Washington. He has to begin with himself. Plus, he would have the bonus of appearing more mature and presidential.
President Obama has appeared to have gone out of his way to not attend church services regularly as his predecessors have done. He plays golf on Sundays. It is reported that the Obama family use the chapel at Camp David for Sunday worship when they are there. Now, however, he is in campaign mode and concerned by polls showing the American people are not even sure if he is a religious person.
Religion has sometimes been a sensitive subject for Obama: He's faced persistent questions from some conservatives and political opponents who mistakenly believe Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll in August found that 18 percent of people wrongly believe Obama is Muslim - up from 11 percent who said so in March 2009. Just 34 percent said they thought Obama is Christian.
Obama addressed those rumors in direct and personal terms Thursday, saying that his Christian faith has been a "sustaining force" during times when he and his family's religion been questioned.
"We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us, but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God," Obama said.
For most Americans, religion is a private matter. Go to church, don't go to church, it is a personal decision. It is obvious, however, when a political person is using religion as a campaign tool. It is not right for the conservatives who do that and it is not right for President Obama, either.
For President Obama to hold himself out as a man of religion during election season cheapens his dialogue and assumes the voter is ignorant. Watch what the man does, not what the man says.