Think about that question for a minute. Is it wrong (morally, politically, patriotically) for a citizen to wish publicly that their President will fail? If you are honest with yourself and remove yourself from the current situation the answer may surprise you?
An honest answer for all of us would have to be – it depends.
To give an extreme example (which has no real bearing on the current situation, but serves only as an illustration), was it wrong for a German to wish that Hitler would fail? I would hope that everyone would agree that it would be perfectly acceptable and in fact right for a German to do that.
The better question would be, is it wrong for an American citizen to wish publicly that their President will fail? Again, the answer would be, it depends. In extreme situations where you feel the good of the country will be permanently and irrevocably damaged, it should be acceptable to wish and even work for the failure of the President.
The best question is, in what situation is it right for an American citizen to wish publicly that their President will fail? That is a much trickier question and is a lot more tied to politics that anyone would like to admit.
Everyone is well aware of Rush Limbaugh's stated desire to see President Obama fail. Part of the context of his statements would seem to indicate that he was speaking of President Obama the agenda more so than President Obama the person.
Regardless, Rush's comments were beneficial to him (even higher ratings) and detrimental to conservatives and GOP (allowed Obama to shift debate to Rush). So, depending on the perspective, they were both right and wrong.
But while Democrats have been quick to pounce on the statement and sanctimoniously declare that is is always wrong for someone to wish failure for the President, they seem to have short memories.
In 2006, a slim majority of Democrats said they wished President Bush would fail. Of course, this was post-Katrina and pre-surge success, so Bush was very unpopular at this moment. But a significant majority of independents still wished for his success. Besides, should levels of popularity determine the morality of a decision? Do I have to mention Germany again?
Friends on the left may argue, "Yes, but that was well into Bush's horrible tenure as President, so this does not compare Rush's statement." Obviously, there are differences. But one that bodes worse for Democrats is that Rush is one man, this was a poll representing all Democrats.
However, it's not like there was a Democrat commentator who was telling reporters only months into Bush's first term that he hoped the President would not succeed. … Oh, wait.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville
was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."
Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.
"We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I'm wanting them to turn against him," Greenberg admitted.
This is why the most important question is, when is it acceptable to wish for the President's failure? Is it simply when that office holder is in the opposite party as you?
Personally, I think Rush and Carville were both wrong, or at least wrong in their word usage. I would expect all liberals to hope that the conservative policies of a President would fail to be enacted. I would hope that all conservatives would wish that liberal policies would never be pushed through.
I would however hope that Democrats would not hope a President fails as he tries to navigate our nation through two wars, no matter your opinion of him or the wars. I would hope that no Republican would wish for a President to fail as he attempts to direct our economy during a drastic down turn.
It is not always wrong to wish the leader of your country to fail, but it is wrong to wish for that leader to fail simply because he belongs to a different party. He does belong to the same nation and that is vastly more important.