At the end of a speech recently supporting his immigration compromise, President Bush said this:
Those determined to find fault with this [immigration] bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people.One phrase there strikes me: "if you don't want to do what's right for America". It sounds to me like Bush is saying, "people who disagree with me on this have some other priority than the good of America". And that really bothers me.
We need to be able to disagree with people without attacking their motives. A President, of all people, should be able to do this well.
From Bush in particular this bothers me because, especially back in 2000, I was struck by his respectfulness toward his political opponents. That was one of the strongest factors influencing my desire to support his candidacy. He had a track record of working with political opponents, and he refused to attack the motives of his opponents. I can't find the quote online, but I remember him saying that Democrats and Republicans both had the same goals and desires for our country, but just disagreed about the methods of getting there.
Now, to his credit, this is a compromise bill that he has helped put together with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. So, from that perspective, he is continuing to fulfill that impression that I had of him in the beginning.
But, his language toward opponents is getting more and more strident, it seems, and I find it highly disappointing.
(Thanks to Volokh Conspiracy for directing me to this information)