Friday, July 24, 2009

Obama’s boner

As soon as President Obama said Wednesday night that the Cambridge police “acted stupidly,” thereby inserting himself into a trivial incident, I knew he’d made a big political mistake.

Now it’s looking like Obama’s bonehead play might cost him more than a few days’ distraction from health care.

It could be the biggest mistake of his career. The kind of mistake that gets written into the history of American presidential politics.

It’s not just that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are beating him up about it. Rush and ’nem be stomping on Obama daily. They are in the stomp-on-Obama business. If it wasn’t this Skip Gates deal, it’d be something else.

But. It’s trouble when they hit him with something that sticks... especially in the minds of voters in the middle. The Left loves Obama; the Right hates Obama. The Middle makes all the difference.

And what’s gonna stick is: The President of the United States, having incomplete information, chose to attack some local cops. And to make it about race. On prime-time TV.

Talk about acting stupidly.

Today, Prez is in damage-control mode. Below is a 6-minute clip of Obama addressing the daily White House press briefing, in which he tries to restore his standing as Conciliator-in-Chief.

Maybe it’ll work. And maybe this will become a “teachable moment” about when the President of the United States should lip off... and when he should hold his tongue.

(Perhaps Prof. Gates could do with such a “teachable moment” his own self.)

32 comments:

Kellybelle said...

Really? I just don't think this is that big of a deal. I think Obama was right. It is stupid to arrest somebody in their own house. Remember that guy in Texas who shot two burglars who were robbing his neighbor while he was on the phone with 911? Everybody thought he was a hero.
(hmm are those two things similar? let's pretend they are.)

DRE said...

I basically agree with both UBM and Kellybelle. I think it wasn't politically smart, but at the end of the day, it is not going to be a big deal. It was proper to do damage control and if economy turns around...this won't matter. If it fails to turn around...this still won't matter

Edshugeo The GodMoor said...

It might have been a mistake for him to even address the issue at that point (I agree with what he said), but with three and a half years to go, it certainly won't be the biggest mistake of his career.

maria said...

gotta disagree with you here. "And to make it all about race."

he didn't.

i watched the comments live and more than once recorded. he specifically said, i don't know all what happened in this case but i do know that the facts show blacks and latinos get called out more.

and that is true.

Michael Murray said...

I suspect that when there is a photo-op with Gates, the cop, and Obama, it will be worth the 2 days of media masturbation.

Don't worry, health-care reform will still get past :)

Mike said...

totally disagree (like it matters, right? :)...

"acted stupidly"... was a "George Bush" momment.

Obama is HUMAN. It was an unscripted response to a random quetion.

The right will jump all over it, like the left did when W. walked into the closed door...so be it.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Mike: Re-read what I wrote about the "Middle."

Undercover Black Man said...

he specifically said, i don't know all what happened in this case but i do know that the facts show blacks and latinos get called out more.

maria: Prez saying that about blacks and latinos is exactly what racialized it!

mike said...

Gotcha. I read your post fast and missed the middle reference yesterday, plus the 40 didn't help.

When I read your original comment on Ephphatha that "acting stupidly" was probably Obama's biggest political mistake, I was like no way. But clearly, the Gates incident only invokes opinions, and only opinion, innit.

Invisible Woman said...

Obama was definitely right about what he said, but folks were just chomping at the bit waiting for him to show any sign of his blackness. That coupled with anything to do with cops and it was a surefire powderkeg mess that the loonies and racists could revel in.

I was saying to a friend the other day that though I was glad he said it on some level, I wish he would have kept quiet; a president should really not be involved publicly with day to day issues.

I also said that in my recollection, I never heard that loser Bush comment on anything racial even once in eight years, no matter how bad it was.

that dude said...

It was a "they call me Mr. Tibbs" moment. Sometimes you gotta slapt that white man. And he did.

lawegohard said...

I'm sorry I'm not paying attention to anything the president is saying. Watch the clip on mute. Fine!

All is forgiven Mr. President.

GDAWG said...

The white folks who are complaining about BO's comments concerning the Gates matter, are the same folks who did not vote him in 2008, and, will not vote for him in the future. He should not have back-peddled. Mistake.

CNu said...

maria: Prez saying that about blacks and latinos is exactly what racialized it!

why you ack like he lied?!?!?!

The fact that he said it may not have been politically expedient, may not have conduced to efficient governance, BUT, was it untrue?

(I'm not going to hold my breath for a sincere answer, because I don't think your ideology allows you to publicly express even the truths you sincerely believe - kinda sad for somebody who fixes his mouf to enunciate the words "freedom", "liberty", and "social prosperity")

Undercover Black Man said...

The fact that he said it may not have been politically expedient, may not have conduced to efficient governance, BUT, was it untrue?

You know what else is true? Black people commit murder at seven times the rate of white people. Black people commit shitloads of violent crime.

If President Obama had mentioned this "truth," Craig, you'd be pitchin' a pure-dee bitch.

What the fuck did Obama's "true" statements about "racial profiling" have to do with what happened to Skip Gates? Why would the President of the United States's first impulse be to trash the cops?

You jonesin' for more publicly expressed truths, Craig? You know what I would ask Skip Gates... who now wants to make a motherfucking documentary about how bad the cops treat black people?

I would ask Skip if he's ever been robbed. Let's hear that story.

Matter fact, let's do a little thought experiment. What if Skip Gates had been mugged in downtown Washington, D.C. ... and took a few licks, and ended up in the hospital. And the perpetrators were young black men (the kind even Jesse Jackson admitted to being wary of, in a rare moment of "politically inexpedient" truth-telling).

And what if, during a presidential press conference, a reporter asked Prez about his friend Skip Gates being mugged within a mile of the White House.

Do you imagine that President Obama would've "racialized" his response by mentioning the "broader context" of high national rates of black violent crime?

And if Prez had uttered such a truth, would you be waving your pom-poms like you're doing right now, Craig?

Prolly not.

CNu said...

what exactly do you call me "waving my pom poms" for David?

X thousand "violent crimes" can't account for a million plus incarcerations....,

(you got so caught up in your propagandistic fervor that you completely forgot the subject at hand)

typical

yet another instance of pure ideological comedy gold...,

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You're the one who changed the subject, my friend. The subject isn't whether or not Obama said something "untrue."

It's whether or not he inflicted a serious political wound on himself.

CareyCarey said...

After reading all the comments, it's fitting that the Undercover Black Man's last remarks were "serious political damge".

On that issue I will agree. However, is there not a better place, a better platform than that of a black President to speak about an issue that effects all black people. We should never forget that Obama is bringing something NEW. Who said a president can't speak about day to day issues outside of healthcare and the rest of the goople goob.

Some cried foul when he didn't speak about Michael Jackson, like THEY wanted him to. Those same folks pointed fingers at the million man march. Now we have folks crying because a "one-in-a-million-man" is acting like a true black man. Our culture requires us to say it loud. Or go sit our ass down. It's usually the man with the biggest stick that says violence is bad.

My hat is off to Mr. Obama. Those police acted a damn fool ...and he said it. Now, was it politically correct? NOPE.

thehoustongirl said...

They just want all of us to "forgive and forget" and sweep this issue under the rug. THIS can be a cause for revolution here, but I see its not going to amount to much since folks are sooo SCARED to even tackle this issue. If Obama can't speak about it, then WHO CAN?

UBM, if you're on the cops' side, just say that instead of running in circles. We understand that you wouldn't understand in a million years to be in the shoes of a BLACK man.

This is a brother from HARVARD, so at least he *does* have some White clout backing him, but not the average working Black man

WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? It seem like you don't want any! I guess its cool to listen to the soulful, BLACK music and even watch the shows/movies but would never, EVER want to wear the shoes when the police are racially profiling you in your own HOME.

"Its cool to be Black, but only when it's convenient"

just like the Healthcare issue, its cool to leave it as is until YOU lose your coverage and having to worry what to do in the event you need medical care.

You don't have the ability to see this through the eyes of a Black person and that's why the debate is sooo hot. Racial matters NEVER WENT AWAY. It may have not been as turbulent throughout the years, post-1960s but it was DORMANT until something happens (Gates case)

Whatever happened to taking care of and treating EVERYONE right? Yeah only in my world :(

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Damn, houstongirl. Can I recommend a cold shower?

What happened to Prof. Gates was inconsequential. It was trivial.

If you really want to have a conversation about this, be ready to talk about all of it.

The reason some black men get profiled is because black men commit heaping shitloads of murders, robberies, rapes and drug offenses.

Who do you think makes life more difficult for law-abiding black folks... the police? Or criminals?

Invisible Woman said...

Speaking as a law abiding citizen that has been harassed by cops numerous times over the years, and by criminals exactly once years ago (and I was not the direct target, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time), I guess you have my answer, if that counts for anything.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ IW: Do you think "racial profiling" is a bigger social problem than crime?

CNu said...

The reason some black men get profiled is because black men commit heaping shitloads of murders, robberies, rapes and drug offenses.

wrong.

the reason some Black men get profiled is because it's easier and more socio-politically expedient to target these men than it is to target their white counterparts.

there is and there has always been tremendous discretion in law enforcement areas and demographics of focus.

Invisible Woman said...

@ubm: No, I wouldn't exactly say that. But in certain factors of Black society profiling can be a bigger direct issue for them personally.

As an example, no one in my immediate or extended family has been a victim of any crime other than credit card theft, which has been done anonymously and could be anyone of any race. But I can count plenty that have been harassed by the police just minding their own business...and interestingly enough, it always happens on the side of the family that doesn't pass the paper bag test.

I know that in other parts of Black society, both crime and profiling are a huge daily problem, mainly for people that are just trying to live life with no trouble.

I find cops and criminals equally scary.

Undercover Black Man said...

there is and there has always been tremendous discretion in law enforcement areas and demographics of focus.

With drug crimes, absolutely, Craig.

With homicide, robbery and rape... not so much.

CNu said...

With drug crimes, absolutely, Craig.

With homicide, robbery and rape... not so much.


The latter follow upon the former, and for reasons that should be self-evidently obvious.

I mean hell, you cop a misdemeanor weed violation as a teenager, and there's a very good chance you've permanently canceled your eligibility for public tuition assistance for college.

You cop a felony drug conviction, and your employment prospects are permanently destroyed.

If you're not slangin dope, using dope, or sleeping with somebody slanging or using dope, the chances of your being a victim of one of these over-hyped homicides is slim to none.

Your failure to truthfully address all the relevant facts of the matter David - renders your constant complaints racist, propagandistic, and despicable.

Why be a be a jerk and an asshole about it when it's so much easier to just lay out all the salient facts?

Undercover Black Man said...

If you're not slangin dope, using dope, or sleeping with somebody slanging or using dope, the chances of your being a victim of one of these over-hyped homicides is slim to none.

Absolute ignorant horseshit. You think the gross disproportion of black homicides began with the crack era?

How about a national conversation about the "salient facts" of black violent crime, if we're gonna have a national conversation about racial profiling?

CNu said...

Having witnessed your rhetorical hijinks for a few years now, I wouldn't take your word for the assertion that grass is sometimes green.

Your politics are too foul and your methods of political expression too deceitful to warrant benefit of the doubt.

CNu said...

While it's top of mind, please make sure you contextualize any a priori ridiculous "history" you distort in service to your racialized claims about crime and criminality.

Cause the million plus Black folk behind bars today is indisputably a result of the disparate drug enforcement and sentencing regime enacted under Ray-gun...,

Undercover Black Man said...

Yo Craig... "over-hyped homicides"? Really?

CNu said...

shall I hold my breath for that objective "history lesson" or were you just selling woof tickets?

Undercover Black Man said...

CNu: Let's put together the puzzle pieces of your argumentation... in a way that I'm sure will intrigue you.

1.) You say the fact that blacks commit homicide at seven times the rate of whites is due entirely to the drug trade. ("If you're not slangin dope, using dope, or sleeping with somebody slanging or using dope, the chances of your being a victim of [homicide] is slim to none.")

2.) You bemoan the number of black men imprisoned by "disparate drug enforcement and sentencing."

Does it follow from this that said disparate sentencing actually saves black lives?

After all, by your logic, more black drug dealers on the streets means more murders... and more black murder victims... since drugs and homicide are so inextricably linked.

See the problem, Craig? You care about black drug dealers when they're locked up. You don't seem to give a shit when they kill and are killed on the streets of our cities.