I don't know which is more pathetic, President Barack Obama's TV threat to "kick ass" or Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin's suggestion that Matt Drudge's provocative headline concerning the threat intentionally played to the alleged racism of his readers.
As much as I'd like to lampoon Obama for talking tough against oil spillers to compensate for his grossly negligent aloofness on the matter, I'll go with the sanctimonious Halperin, who needs to remove his blinding liberal filter.
Obama's exact words in explaining why he consults government experts concerning the oil spill were, "We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick."
Unfortunately, neither black nor white liberals will let Obama's comment or certain reactions to it pass without turning it into an incident with racial implications. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart wrote, "African American men are taught at very young ages (or learn the hard way) to keep our emotions in check, to not lose our cool, lest we be perceived as dangerous or menacing."
Similarly, Halperin got exercised over Drudge's headline "Obama goes street: seeking 'ass to kick,'" which, according to Halperin, "includes this photo of an angry-looking Barack Obama. I think it's all pretty clear to all of us what's going on."
I suppose that depends on who "us" is. If it means skin pigment-obsessed, psychologically projecting liberal hand-wringers, then I might agree, though I would hope that not too great a percentage of liberals are pigment-obsessed, psychologically projecting hand-wringers.
In the first place, the Drudge photo was tame compared with many Obama pix I've seen. I would describe Obama's expression as more contemplative than menacing. Maybe Halperin is projecting here, too. Do you think he instinctively regards Obama's cerebral pose as menacing? Did someone whip Mark's fanny growing up?
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think of Drudge's headline in racial terms at all -- even the use of the term "street." What that word does bring to mind is thuggish Chicago street politics in the style of the very white Saul Alinsky, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod -- maybe even Bill Ayers.