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.
Halperin said, "If you're an African-American man in this country and you're trying to get political leadership, you can't get angry in public without having it play symbiotically in a bad way." "Symbiotically"? I watched the video and read the transcript, and that's the word he used. I'll assume Halperin meant "symbolically" but was injecting reverse street language. But I regress; I mean "digress."
What possible evidence does Halperin have for this assertion, other than his own distorted biases -- biases against black men and white conservatives? Personally, I loved it when Clarence Thomas showed a little righteous indignation in the face of his "high-tech lynching" by Senate Democrats who were bigoted against black conservatives.
Show me a black man (or a white man or even a turquoise man) expressing anger at Obama's destructive policies and I'll show you a uniformly positive reaction among all conservatives, for whom race is wholly irrelevant. But we can't expect the preprogrammed Halperin to comprehend such counterintuitive ideas as colorblindness inheres in conservatism, which brings me to the most troubling of Halperin's regrettable lines.
In assessing Drudge's headline, Halperin said: "(Drudge) thought it would be cool and hip, but he knew full well that it was provocative and racial. I'm not saying that that makes Matt Drudge a racist. What I'm saying is Matt Drudge knows how to tap into the sentiments of a lot of his readers."
Don't gloss over Halperin's revolting charge here. Who does Halperin mean by Drudge's "readers"? He isn't talking about himself or his fellow liberal journalists, who visit Drudge as the CIA would surveil domestic terrorist cells. He means -- plain as day -- conservatives.
And what is he saying about us conservatives? Simply that as the bigots he thinks we are, we are ripe to be roused to racially charged fear and anger and other forms of disapproval against Obama if we observe him displaying anger.
What abject and offensive absurdity! Speak for yourself, Mark, my boy. We don't need anyone telling us how or what to think. To begin with, your entire premise is wrong. Obama isn't even close to being angry. He's feigning anger for political purposes, and anyone with half a wit, including us right-wing Cro-Magnons, can tell the difference.
I don't deny that Obama scares me and evokes other negative sentiments in me and millions of others. But not one of those sentiments has anything to do with his skin. They have to do with his destructive agenda.
Mark: Your unwarranted leap into racial hysteria is simply a reflection of your own warped sentiments. You should holster that wagging finger and refrain from fomenting racial discord that you only pretend to decry.