Even Democratic luminary James Carville recognizes the resurrection of this tactic among his brethren, saying in a television interview, "Everything about the shootings points to politics except the evidence." That's a far cry from Matthews' formulation, hmm?
So if we take Obama (and Carville) at his word, are we not entitled to assume and expect that Obama henceforth will resist from reinstituting his well-established pattern of demonizing his opponents with combative imagery, for example, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" or telling Hispanics to vote Democratic to "punish our enemies" or, most recently, identifying Republicans as "hostage takers" with whom he was "itching for a fight"?
I don't know that Obama, the avowed Saul Alinskyite, is capable of switching gears and trying to govern in some other way than by targeting, isolating and demonizing his opponents, but his November "shellacking" may be causing him to reconsider, even if he doesn't go so far as adopting Clintonian triangulation.
But the more important question involves Obama's prospective position on freedom of political speech in this country. Will he truly distance himself from his leftist base's conspiratorial scheme to silence voices on the right by attempting to link their speech to violence?
For let there be no mistake, the left has promoted a selective censorship syllogism at least as far back as Clinton's opportunistic linkage of conservative talk radio to the Oklahoma City bombing. That syllogism is: Conservative talk is often hate speech; hate speech leads to violence; so conservative talk must be severely regulated.
That's the rationale behind the left's efforts to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine, to promote network neutrality rules and to justify campus speech codes.
This march to "criminalize" conservative speech, I believe, began when liberals realized they had lost a monopoly on the media with the advent and explosive popularity of alternative media.
So, I'm willing to praise Obama for a fine speech. But will he follow his own words and lead his party away from its destructive efforts to silence its opponents?