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Close Race For This Week's BOW Award!

Time for this week's BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award, and I'm happy to report that with the arrival of warmer weather buffoonery appears to be in full bloom across the nation.  Huzzah!

It started early, with something you may have heard about on The Daily Show the other night.  As many of you know, the Republicans lost a special election in Mississippi this past Tuesday, failing to hold a seat that had been in GOP hands for more than a decade in a district that George Bush carried in 2004 by a double digit margin.  This was the third time this spring the Republicans have lost special Congressional elections in strongly red districts (the other two races were in Louisiana and Dennis Hastert's old district in Illinois).  In the wake of yet another special election disaster, the Republicans decided that they needed to change their image and fast.  So they unveiled a new party slogan:  "The Change You Deserve"  Okay, never mind the ridiculousness of touting yourself as the party of change when you've been running the Federal Government for the past seven years.  Turns out the slogan is already taken.  The good people at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals have used that slogan for their powerful prescription anti-depressant, Effexor (TM).  It also turns out that some users of the drug have been experiencing severe and unpleasant side-effects, including nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, and memory loss.  Actually, the GOP's new slogan might be appropriate after all....

Then there was the bizarre interview that President Bush gave  earlier this week on Politico, during which interviewer Mike Allen asked too many stupid questions to count.  One of them, though, concerned the fact that the President hasn't been playing much golf lately.  Allen asked if this was because of the war.  The president's response:

“Yes, it really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.” 

Really?!  Okay, where do we start with this one?  Is he really saying that by giving up golf he's relating better to the soldiers in Iraq and their families?  Is he really equating his "sacrifice" with theirs?  Or is he just saying that from a PR standpoint it would be bad form?  By the way, the President claimed to have made his decision to give up golf after the August 2003 bombing of UN Headquarters in Baghdad, but there is news footage of him playing in October '03, just as there is footage of him fishing, biking, and doing all sorts of other recreational stuff.  Now, he has every right to do these things.  He can't be expected to live a life of total deprivation; I don't care who he is.  But let's skip the patronizing BS about giving up golf because he's worried about being in solidarity with the soldiers.

Ah, but our witless leader wasn't done yet!  On Thursday, while in Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, our President accused those in the U.S. who oppose his confrontational approach to dealing with Iran and other rogue nations of "appeasement", in effect likening his political opponents to those who allowed Nazi Germany to take Poland in 1938.  Let me say for the record that there are legitimate policy points to be made on both sides of this argument:  some feel that confronting our enemies and refusing to negotiate with them is the right approach; others believe that negotiation is the right path.  That is a legitimate difference of opinion on foreign policy and it ought to be debated.  But to equate negotiation with the appeasement of Hitler is offensive and inappropriate.  More to the point, for an American leader to go before the parliament of a foreign ally and attack his political opponents at home is such terms is so out of bounds I haven't the words to describe it.  To my Republican friends who think I'm overreacting, let me ask you this:  (And please, be honest with yourselves)  If Bill Clinton had done the same thing when he was President, how would you have reacted?  Bush's comments were out of line; making them in such a venue -- particularly in Israel, and particularly during this anniversary week -- was cowardly.

There were more acts of buffoonery, of course.  John McCain picked up on Bush's comments and accused Barack Obama of wanting to sit down and negotiate with the terrorist group Hamas.  Obama's position on this is identical to McCain's:  he would refuse to speak with Hamas until they have repudiated terrorism as a means to achieving their political goals and until they have retracted their calls for Israel's annihilation.  Of course, since McCain started these attacks, video has surfaced from 2006 in which McCain calls for unconditional discussions with Hamas.  Yet another flip flop for Flippy McSame.

But this week's winning act of buffoonery comes from an unlikely source.  On Friday, while speaking to the National Rifle Association in Louisville, Kentucky, former Arkansas Governor and unsuccessful candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination Mike Huckabee heard a strange sound offstage -- a chair falling, or something of the sort -- and made the following joke:

“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak.  Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

I don't know which is worse:  the fact that Huckabee said this, or the fact that the NRA attendees laughed.  Nobody should be making jokes about any Presidential candidate getting shot.  It's just not funny.  But in this case, given the history of violence against prominent African American leaders in this country, the joke seems especially tasteless.  Let's be honest, most of us have already considered the posibility that Obama might be targeted if he wins the nomination. There are a lot of racist wack-jobs out there who will be tempted to take a shot at him.  And Huckabee is making jokes about this?  Is this really an idea we want to be putting in people's heads?  To his credit, Governor Huckabee issued the following apology this morning:

“During my speech at the N.R.A., a loud noise backstage, that sounded like a chair falling, distracted the crowd and interrupted my speech. I made an off hand remark that was in no way intended to offend or disparage Sen. Obama. I apologize that my comments were offensive. That was never my intention.” 

But still, I have to give this week's BOW Award to Mike Huckabee.  Take a BOW, Mike.  You've earned it.  And next time you open your mouth, give a little thought to what it is you're about to say.  We don't need stuff like this floating around this year.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
hedwig_snowy
May. 17th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
It was an interesting week. Not the least being Clinton defending Obama. Who'd a thunk it?

Bush at the Knesset: He shouldn't have said anything but to praise the state of Israel on its 60th Anniversary. Period. His comments make the ones made by the Dixie Chicks seem tame and his base hooted over those. Still, while he was certainly including Obama in his statement, I think it's just a continuation of his (and his administration's) thought that anyone, anyone that disagrees agrees with him is a traitor. So, he used a broad brush again. Nothing new, just a continued sadness that while Karl Rove has left...his taint still remains. The comments were even more offensive in that his administration does talk to North Korea and Syria and Lybia, etc... (Did you see the segment on the Chris Matthews show with the RW radio talk show host Kevin James discussing the Bush comments? The guy had no idea what he was talking about...which made him only slightly smarter than Sean Hannity)

NRA: It didn't seem that Huckabee's joke went over all that well. More like nervous twitters than outrageous laughter. Can't blame the NRA on that one. And yes, Huckabee certainly deserves this week's BOW Award.

Golf: Well, we all know how much the President has suffered over the war. Why, he's had to take more vacation time than any President in history just to be able to cope. (Maybe HE should have used Effexor). How do we know this?

"No one suffers more than their president and I do."
- Laura Bush

Until Jenna or Barbara are sent off to Anbar Province...I kind of doubt that...

*Nice that they gave you so many to choose from this week* :)
davidbcoe
May. 18th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the great comments. Yes, Hillary defending Obama (and then Jamie Rubin doing the same) was one of the most positive developments of the past several months. We as a party are going to be all right, I think. And we've going to bury Flippy McSame.

I heard about the Kevin James incident on CrooksandLiars.com. Hilarious. And a rare moment of fine journalism by Chris Matthews.

The NRA stuff speaks for itself, I think. I'd love to think that the audience was uncomfortable with Huckabee's "joke" but I didn't hear anyone who'd been sitting in the hall denouncing him after the fact.

And, yeah, the golf thing. Even if Jenna and Babs had been John and Bob, they wouldn't have ended up in Anbar. Texas National Guard, more likely....
kmarkhoover
May. 17th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
That Huckabee statement is but the beginning of what we're going to see and hear from these racist Republicans.

I found his comments particularly disgusting. He should be horse-whipped. This is TYPICAL Republican. This is how they are, this is what they think.

And Repugs in the audience laughed when Huckabee said that. They thought it was FUNNY.

That pretty much tells you all you ever need to know about them and their party...and why they're so dangerous.
davidbcoe
May. 18th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's going to be an ugly fall. But I remain guardedly optimistic about Obama's chances.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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