The Myth of Not Mocking the President
Media critics struck back hard at Clint Eastwood for his part performance art, part political critique bit featuring an invisible Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention. Breitbart News rounded up a great number of those attacks here.
If the media and liberal pundits are to be believed, it would appear to be a thought crime to mock a sitting president. Anyone who has followed politics for any time knows how ridiculous that notion is. But being ridiculous isn't a line the media is afraid to cross in protecting Obama. From all but the founding of America up until the election of Barack Obama, presidents have always been fair game.
It would be more difficult to find a sitting president who hasn't been mocked than one who has. Here's a minor sampling from what was basically the first contested presidency, when both Adams and Jefferson sought to replace Washington in the White House. "Adams’ supporters fought a vicious battle in the press with those who championed Jefferson’s candidacy. Jefferson was slammed as an atheist and a 'mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.' Adams was condemned as a monarchist who sought to become a king; he was also branded as a fool and a hypocrite. It was this 1796 race, in fact, that introduced Americans to the practice of mudslinging–the usage of insults, false stories, and political 'dirt' against an opponent".
History is ripe with examples far worse then pretending to hear the "F" word from an empty chair. For more contemporary examples, it's impossible to count how many times the media has created the impression that a Republican president is simply dumb. That mocking began with Reagan, continued through Bush, and even 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was smeared with the "dumb" brush.
If one is a Democrat, using a national convention to mock a Republican challenging for the presidency puts you on the national stage, and the room explodes with laughter. Take the late Texas Governor Ann Richards. "In 1982 she ran for state treasurer, winning handily. She was invited as keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, where she famously mocked George H.W. Bush, nominee of the Republican Party: 'Poor George, he can’t help it; he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.' That speech drew guffaws of delight and catapulted her into the national spotlight."
The comedy bits, movie segments, and off-hand comments that portrayed his son, Bush 41, as dumb and incompetent are too many to count. Now, suddenly, America doesn't mock the president or the man out of respect for the office? As stated above, that's ridiculous.
In fact, mocking even the highest of elected officials has always been fair game as a form of leveling both the office and the man as being of the people, a concept which underlies any healthy democracy.
The scorn and even outrage that came from the Left and even the media after Clint Eastwood's comedic bit isn't only silly; it's dangerous. Just as the media protected Barack Obama from being vetted when he first ran for the White House in 2008, they now seek to eliminate any criticism of him to keep him there. In the final analysis, Clint Eastwood exposed Barack Obama as not only too often invisible in the chair of American power and leadership; he showed him to be an emperor without any clothes.
As a means of getting the real message across to the American people as to what Barack Obama is and is not as a president, before we return to the polls in November, it will be important to continue crashing through his palace guard of media with criticism and even mockery when circumstances and events render it appropriate. If nothing else, Clint Eastwood's opening the door to that process make his convention remarks critical to defeating Obama in 2012.