The president inserted himself into the Trayvon Martin story in a deeply irresponsible manner. Disregarding the case's complexities (the fact that Zimmerman was clearly in a fight, the fact that not a particle of evidence suggested racial animus on Zimmerman's part, the fact that Zimmerman had alerted police to strangers of every description), the president legitimized the racial incitement tactics of Sharpton and Co. by suggesting that a son of his would resemble Trayvon. A son of Obama's might also resemble Chancey Luna or James Edwards, two of the perpetrators of the depraved murder last week in Oklahoma. That teaches us what exactly?
Unlike the Martin tragedy, the murder of Christopher Lane does appear to have had racial overtones. More than that, Lane's murder may have been conceived as revenge for Trayvon Martin. One of the killers tweeted, "Ayeee, I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!" followed by a string of expletives. "Woods" is apparently slang for white people. In another tweet, he said, "90 percent of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM."
The president has not expressed condolences to the Lane family or to the nation of Australia. You might say that's not a presidential role. Perhaps. But the secretary of state has been silent, as well, and when a White House spokesman was asked about the case, he said, "I'm not familiar with it, actually."
The president went out of his way to phone Sandra Fluke when Rush Limbaugh rudely insulted her. This was part of his campaign to portray the GOP as anti-woman. But as my colleague Jay Nordlinger points out, wouldn't it have been easy for him to call someone on the other side who was equally mistreated? Had he picked up the phone to express his sympathy to Sarah Palin after her handicapped son was mocked on national television, it would have earned him tremendous goodwill from his political opponents and cost him nothing. On the contrary, his standing would have been enhanced all around.
Well, maybe phoning Palin is asking too much from such an implacable liberal. But what about Leo Johnson?