In the past, Obama has urged Americans not to politicize issues that were deeply political in nature but that he wished not to debate. Now, post-Oregon, he has set a new standard for future political arguments. A few examples:
In March of this year, when there was an intense debate about Republican lawmakers' decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the Iran nuclear issue, Obama said, "It is very important for us not to politicize the relationship between Israel and the United States."
A few years earlier, Obama decried the politicization of the Keystone XL pipeline. In a December 2011 news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Obama said, "The State Department is making sure that it crosses all its T's and dots all its I's before making a final determination. And I think it's worth noting, for those who want to try to politicize this issue, that when it comes to domestic energy production, we have gone all in..."
In January 2009, when he rescinded the "Mexico City Policy" against funding abortions overseas, Obama said, "It is time that we end the politicization of this issue."
In May 2009, in his speech on terrorist detainees, Obama said, "Over the last several weeks, we've seen a return of the politicization of these issues that have characterized the last several years."
The president has also used his spokesmen to condemn the politicization of certain issues....
So over the years President Obama and his designated spokesman have often spoken out against the politicization of issues of great public importance — issues that properly belong in the sphere of political debate. And of course, Republicans have also condemned the politicization of issues they don't want to debate. Now, though, Obama's yes-let's-politicize-this approach to the Oregon killings could be an indication of a significant change. Let the politicization begin.