The White House announced today that President Obama and the First Lady will be traveling to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela. That's as it should be. While the media's rush to canonize Mandela is a bit overwrought (his ultimate legacy was unquestionably positive, but that shouldn't be allowed to obscure his many faults, which are presented in an admirably balanced fashion in National Review's editorial on his life), his was still a deeply significant life, worthy of presidential recognition.
Given that sentiment, you may be wondering what the "classless act" I'm referring to in the title is. It's not paying homage to Mandela; it's the contrast with the events of eight months ago, when this happened:
Barack Obama, in case you haven’t heard, is pretty worked up about inequality. It’s a constant theme of the president’s speeches, with regular references like the one in his second inaugural address to a country where “a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it."
In the abstract, this is comfortable territory for liberals. Not only do they generally hold inequality to be a form of injustice; they also seem to think it’s intentional. That is, they believe that it stems in large part from the systematic exploitation of the poor by the rich.…
"It’s not the voters who hate Obamacare the most who are going to matter in next year’s elections. It’s the independents who frequently side with Democrats but could, if propelled by a distaste for the health care law, take a serious look at the GOP in 2014. And on this front, Democrats have a big problem with one of their most crucial constituencies — white women. Polling…[more]
—Alex Roarty, National Journal Politics Correspondent
— Alex Roarty, National Journal Politics Correspondent