Robert Knight

The first major campaign event of the 2012 presidential election was held on Jan. 12, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.

Barack Obama, speaking at a memorial service held at the University of Arizona for the six people killed in the Jan. 8 massacre, gave a splendid, heartwarming address. It probably was the most presidential speech he has given.

Mr. Obama applauded the victims’ sacrificial nature and community spirit, and gave special attention to nine-year-old Christina Taylor-Green, who, he said, was just getting interested in public service, which is why she was at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ meet and greet event.

Now, at the risk of sounding like someone who won’t give due credit, I’m going to make the case that a lot more was going on here than a memorial service.

When, for instance, have you been to a memorial service where cheers and yells punctuated the eulogy, and where T-shirts were draped over seats or given out to mourners at the door?

Two other aspects of the event bear analysis. Mr. Obama has been widely and rightly praised for saying that no one knows what motivated the shooter. It would have been nice if he had done this when leftwing loons including Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik spent days falsely accusing the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin of complicity, but at least he finally said it.

His call for unity and civility is also welcome, but it contains a subtle message: Now that the Left has slandered conservatives, it’s time to call a truce.

Years ago, a common practice in boys’ play was the invocation of “King’s X” in the middle of a game or fight. It meant, “time out.” The sneakiest fighters would get in a good jab, cross their fingers (which signified sanctuary offered by the church) and cry, “King’s X!”

Liberals now calling for civility are employing the equivalent. It’s the perfect way to chill opposition in the run-up to 2012, unlike, say, 2008. Running against John McCain, the Obama team constantly vilified the Bush presidency.

With this radically leftist administration attempting to turn America into a socialist beggar state, it would surely benefit the incumbent for everyone to pipe down about those blatant, unconstitutional power grabs occurring almost daily. King’s X, indeed.

Another calculating element in the speech was this: “In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners.”

“Life partners?” That’s either same-sex or co-habiting couples. In the not too distant past, a president would have paid homage to the victims’ marriages without stretching for politically correct “inclusion.”

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.