By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Not surprisingly the always dependable controversial quotable especially when it come to knocking President Barack Obama Democratic strategist James Carville was petulant and defiant when asked whether he’d apologize for his latest Obama wisecrack. The dig was Carville’s supposedly play on an old joke when he cracked that Hillary Clinton should give Obama one of her balls.
Carville, of course, got several things out of this supposed joke. He got attention from the White House. No surprise there, it didn’t like the offensive crack. He got media attention which was guaranteed considering that Carville made it and the butt of the joke/attack was Obama. He got a virtual guarantee that he’ll continue to get a microphone and a camera stuck in front of him on a slow day when a chatter box TV or radio show needs a colorful quote about Obama.
But more disturbing, he got applause from some quarters for allegedly saying what needs to be said about Obama. The something that supposedly needs to be said is the relentless, drumbeat refrain from progressive and liberal Democrats that the president needs to take the velvet gloves off and show the iron fist to the GOP hit attackers. Obama has had to hear that demand, plea, pillory for months now.
The plea for a harder edge from the White House is certainly a legitimate one. The GOP, Tea Party, and the pack of rightwing shrill bloggers, web sites, talk show jocks are waging a second political civil war against Obama. They’ve made it clear their goal is one goal and that’s to do everything possible to tar him and his presidency, as flawed, failed and one term. If it take everything from sabotaging every initiative and piece of legislation which even remotely carries his fingerprint on it they’ll do it. If it means telling the president to shove his courtesy, protocol invitation to come to the White House to meet and greet and discuss ways to work together on issues where there is mutual agreement, they’ll do that too. The call for Obama to punch back will continue to resound loudly.
But there’s a right and a wrong way to say it, and a right venue in which to say it. An off color alleged joke that doesn’t sound much like a joke from a professional quipster is hardly the right way to get a legitimate criticism across. Carville knew this and knew that he would be asked to apologize. It was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn’t.
I say forgone because Carville’s offensive, and demeaning crack fits into a by now well-established pattern in packs of Obama critics say whatever comes to mind no matter how crass, crude, and thoughtless publicly about Obama. It could be a off color race tinged slur, a crack about his patriotism, citizenship, his trips, his looks, First Lady Michelle, his dog, or even an innocuous children’s book. It’s open season on this president, and anything no matter how off the wall goes, and will be quoted, cited, and whipped around the blogosphere as truth and fact.
The added guarantee that any silly and offensive inanity about Obama will make the rounds is that the ones that purse their lips to utter the dumb stuff are not the usual suspects in the GOP and Tea Party, Limbaugh, Beck and Sarah Palin, that’s expected. The ones taking the shots at him are supposedly Obama friends and allies. Carville remember is a Democrat’s Democrat. Others from billionaire Democratic Party bankroller George Soros and liberal funnyman Bill Maher have taken their shots at the president for one alleged failing or another, and as expected. It’s front page news when they do.
Obama can expect more blame, finger pointing, and cheap shots, to be take at and heaped on him. Carville was just the latest to open his mouth and rag on the president, but by no means the last. Expect no apologies from any of them during this very open season on the president and presidency.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk shows on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter.