Civility: Will Obama Return $1.6 Million Raised by Spike Lee?

Which is really more important to this President: the tone of the national discourse or cold, hard cash? 

A few days ago, Spike Lee sent what he believed to be George Zimmerman's home address into the midst of a racial firestorm. Should Obama return the $1.6 million he collected at a fundraiser in Lee's home this January to express his disapproval with this decision? You can add this to the question conservatives have been asking for several weeks: should Obama's SuperPAC return the $1million dollars Bill Maher donated in February? 

 Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller recalls a fundraiser President Obama held at the New York home of director Spike Lee in January. The Huffington Post reported on the evening, including the fact that the White House had approached Lee about hosting it:

The filmmaker, who told WPIX that the White House first approached him about the fundraiser, kept an active Twitter commentary during the event.
According to Spike, the event raised $1.6 million for the President's campaign:
Stars such as Mariah Carrey and Nick Cannon attended the event, which cost up to $38,500 a plate... 
As the event finished, [Spike] wrote, "A Great Night. I Heard We Raised 1.6 Million Dollars From The Dinner Tonight. The President After The Q&A Shook Hands And Took Pictures.Ya-Dig."

Dig this. A few days ago Spike retweeted an address he believed belonged to George Zimmerman, the shooter in the Trayvon Martin case. It's not clear what Spike hoped would happen to Zimmerman, but given the firestorm surrounding the case, he must have known it wouldn't be pretty. 

Indeed, some of Spike's followers made death threats. Already at this point, Spike had crossed a line. 

Only, as it turned out, the address Spike sent to his quarter million followers on Twitter was not George Zimmerman's address. It belonged to Elaine and David McClain, a couple in their 70s. The McClains have reportedly fled their home and have now retained an attorney

So Spike Lee's actions were not only reckless and inflammatory; they were also stupid. So far, the entertainment media are being remarkably quiet about this scandal, almost as if they've decided to spike the story (couldn't resist). 

But in this case, it's not just Spike's reputation but the President's that is on the line. Recall that President Obama, when asked, was happy to weigh in on offensive comments made by Rush Limbaugh. He expressed his concern about the tone of debate, a tone which could one day be turned against his daughters. He also made a personal call to Sandra Fluke to thank her for her public testimony. 

Isn't sending a person's home address to an angry mob looking for "justice" at least as problematic? And again, this isn't just any person; this is someone whose home Obama visited two months ago to collect campaign donations. 

So why has the President fallen silent once again? After a while, people may get the idea this President cares more about his reelection war chest than he does the tone of our discourse.


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