Well, enough with the intro, let’s have at it.
Neil Munro and Tucker (Bowtie) Carlson. It should come as no surprise to anyone that President Obama has been thoroughly disrespected by a multitude of people from the right-wing media to members of Congress (bet you thought we’d forgotten about you, Joe Wilson), but this latest affront was so egregious and so over the top, it left even me speechless, and that takes a lot.
In case you missed it – and you would’ve had to have been off the planet or in a coma to miss it – Neil Monro of The Daily Caller repeatedly interrupted the President while he was delivering a speech to a press gathering. Despite several attempts by Obama to explain that it was not the time for questions, Monro persisted in his heckling.
How bad was Monro’s conduct? Former spokesman for George W. Bush, Tony Fratto, along with Fox News anchors Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace condemned it, that’s how bad. All three said that Monro should have his White House credentials revoked. You know you’ve stepped in some pretty deep shit when a former member of the Bush Administration and two Fox employees end up defending this president over you. I’m pretty sure it’s a crime punishable by torture [or being forced to watch Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocey try their hand at journalism. Oh wait, that’s the same thing] to side with Obama on anything over at Fox, so trust me, Monro really screwed up here.
But, as atrocious as Monro’s insolence was, it was equaled only by his boss, Tucker Carlson. Seems old Bowtie couldn’t understand what all the hubbub was about. Not only did he defend Monro, he dug the hole deeper by insisting “This is what reporters are supposed to do. They're supposed to get their questions answered.”
To emphasize his point, Carlson brought up Sam Donaldson, who was often an aggressive White House reporter during the Reagan years. Of course, Bowtie conveniently forgot to mention that while Donaldson was aggressive in his questioning of Reagan, he never interrupted one of his speeches. To do so would’ve been disrespectful and you just don’t do that to the President of the United States.
But therein lies the real crux of the matter: respect. There’s just something about this President that somehow allows the Right to believe it can get away with virtually anything it wants with no consequence at all. Even as unpopular as George Bush was, I don’t ever recall him being so thoroughly dissed. Yes, he was fodder for the late-night comedians; yes his decision making was often fair game for his opponents. But while the Left blasted him for his policies, it never pulled the kind of stunts that Neil Monro pulled at this briefing. I don’t recall one Senator or Congressman shouting out “You Lie,” during a Bush address. And if ever there was a president who deserved to have those words shouted at him, it would’ve been old W for sticking us with the a trillion dollar illegal war.
I guess that’s the price you have to pay when you’re the political equivalent of Jackie Robinson. You have to take the barbs and the slights so that you don’t come off as an angry black man. Except for one thing. While Robinson had to walk and act like a gentlemen in public, even while being called every despicable name possible, it was on the playing field that he exacted his revenge. Robinson was merciless towards his opponents. He was one of baseball’s most fierce competitors. He was more than just the first of his kind; he raised the standard by which all ballplayers – black and white – are measured. That’s why he’s in the hall of fame.
Obama, by contrast, has adopted Robinson’s public persona, with none of his fiery competitiveness in the field of play. The result has been that his opponents often consider him an easy mark. In his zeal not to be seen as merely a black man – as though that were even possible – he has ironically unleashed the worst vestiges of a segment of the population that sees nothing but his skin color. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t hide the fact that he is a black man in a white man’s world.
And because he naturally wants to prove he is above those who hold such views, he ends up enabling idiots like Neil Monro and his asinine boss Tucker Carlson to imply with a straight face that they are only doing their jobs.
They may not think their actions are racist, but they are. And the longer this President keeps pretending he can take the high road, the more emboldened they become. I have said this on more than one occasion. Obama needs to get his dander up. No he doesn’t have to go all gansta on his opponents, but he needs to stop being a human piñata.
I was certainly no fan of George Bush, but there was one trait of his that I did admire. He had the ability to completely ignore any criticism that was levied at him and just go with what his gut told him. In fact, every president I can think of from Clinton to Reagan to Johnson to Truman had an innate ability to both drive a narrative while at the same time damning the torpedoes. Not one of them would’ve allowed themselves to be treated in such a humiliating fashion.
By comparison, Obama seems like the college professor who is desperately trying to persuade the miscreants in his class that they should study harder so they can get better grades. You don’t reason with hatred and ignorance; you call it out for the world to see.
Is there a possibility that by standing up to it that Obama might be seen as overreacting and playing the race card? I submit it’s a little late in the game to worry about that. The Right has been playing the race card for four years. It’s high time this President called them on it. Jackie Robinson was black; so was Curt Flood. Right now the country needs the latter more than the former.
Americans love a fighter. It’s time Barack Obama learned to put up his dukes.