Remember when it was imperative that we respect the office of the President, even if we weren’t totally wild about the occupant of that office? That seems to have been a constant theme/meme throughout the early 2000s. Ah, but that’s so “last decade” isn’t it. What could have changed? Hmmmm.
We’ll put aside the ugly cartoons, “jokes” and rabid exposés by total nutters like the “journalists” at such places as Wingut Daily and the Breitbart consortium of conspiracies. And we won’t even go into the ugly things that have been said and written about our charming First Lady and the innocent, polite Obama children.
Let’s just take a look at how Right Wing celebrities, and even elected officials have exhibited their utter disrespect for the office of the President since Barack Obama has assumed the office, and see what kinds of repercussions they have suffered as a result.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
Right-wing celebrities, though as rare as hens’ teeth, do like to shoot their mouths off whenever possible, and no matter how vile their comments, seem to be welcomed back to the fold and nestled in wingnut warmth.
Motor City Madman? Wingnut Warrior? You decide.
That delightful creature, Ted Nugent began his charm offensive back in 2008 when, waving his guns, he said, "Hey, Obama, you mightwanna suck on one of these, you punk." He continued, "Hillary, you might wanna ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch."
NOTE: When Nugent made these comments, Obama was not yet President. I have included them merely to provide background on what a respectful person Nugent has always been.)
“The Nuge” pretty much continued his charming commentary after Mr. Obama became President, comparing Obama and his administration to coyotes, called them criminals, etc. and was rabid enough to earn a visit from the Secret Service for his rhetoric.
The result? He was lauded by the Romney family when he endorsed Mitt, earning a tweet from fanboi, Tagg:
Donald Trump—where to begin. I’m not sure how to even classify him, as, in addition to being a “celebrity,” he was actually even considering a run for the presidency. Frankly, I consider him a giant hairball, but I digress…
So how did Trump exhibit his respect for the President of the United States? First, he received widespread media opportunities to spread his ugly birtherism nonsense and made such disrespectful comments as:
“Obamaand his attack dogs have nothing but hate and anger in their heartsand spew it whenever possible.”
He said Obama was a "terrible student" and therefore too dumb to have legitimately gotten through college and law school.
And on it went, with a new Trump crusade every week or so, culminating in his totally obnoxious “dare” to the President of the United States to release his college transcripts.
And during all of Trump’s shenanigans, he was a fundraiser for Romney, who never once disavowed any of Trump’s ugly talk.
Then, after the election was won by Obama, this miscreant actually calledfor revolution.
No disrespect there—nah. (Oh, and Donald, maybe you should wait for the results before getting your hair all in a tizzy, as Obama won the popular vote by quite a nice margin.)
So what’s next for the Donald? Well, the hairball is still bloviating, and his ridiculous television show will once again be aired on NBC later this year. (Payback is such a bitch.)
Clint Eastwood, despite everything in his career that came before, will long be remembered for his stellar madlib at the 2012 Republican convention, when, talking to an empty chair that was supposed to represent the President of the United States, he uttered suchrespectful phrases as
“What? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. Can't do that to himself. You're absolutely crazy.”
Repercussions? None that I’ve noticed. The wingers still think he’s the best thing going.
Hank Williams Jr. has quite a history of “respect” for the President.
(photo available, but too repulsive to post)
It began in 2008, when he was campaigning for John McCain, and said to an audience in Colorado, "Join me now in our national--you know, that song that, uh, Mr. Obama's not real crazy about, we're singing it right now."
(Again—this was before Mr. Obama became President, but is mentioned merely to set the stage.)
ESPN thought it would be a great idea to include him in their Monday night football coverage. Then, in October 2011, Williams Jr. was on Fox and Friends, saying about Obama playing golf with Boehner:
"That would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu. Not hardly. In the shape this country is in?"
Even Brian Kilmeade didn’t understand what he was talking about, so Williams went on to explain (sic), "I'm glad you don't brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy... Obama! And Biden!” (He also referred to the two men as the Three Stooges, so apparently math is also not a strong suit.)
That, apparently was a bridge too far even for ESPN, which removed Williams from their football broadcast. But did it kill Williams career? Did country stations stop playing his music?
Of course not. Some comments at the time on Huffpo (apparently spelling and cogent thought are not strong suits of Williams’ fans):
Go Hank, I'm with ya. A country boy can survive. To celebrate, all my routy friends are comin ova tonight!
Hank williams is a real american who did nothing but express his oppinion. If you dont like it maybey your not a real american
And, just this past September, 2012, Hank Jr. was right back at it:
"We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him," Williams Jr. bellowed. The Dallas Sun reported, “The crowd responded with a loud cheer.”
Victoria Jackson—OK, probably not fair to include her as a celebrity, because her career couldn’t be damaged by her idiocy since it pretty much ended years ago, but still…
Victoria says Obama is a communist and explains all that she has learned from Glenn Beck. (WARNING: Watching this video may cause a deterioration of brain cells.)
ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO…
How should we classify pundits or radio yakkers? Are they celebrities or newspeople? For our purposes, we’ll just think of them as public figures, OK?
If I went into all the bile that has been spewed about the President by right wing yakkers, you’d still be reading this when it was time to vote in the 2016 election. So just a brief recap:
Neil Bortz—. Boortz stated that "Barack Obama is a bigger disaster to this country than 9-11."
Bill O’Reilly interrupted the President 48 times during a 15 minute interview.
Neil Munro interrupted Obama mid-sentence to shout out an obnoxious question
(He was suspended, but was right back at it shortly thereafter.)
Fox “star” Eric Bolling compared Obama to a drug dealer who opens “Barry’sPot and Coke Emporium.” When Bob Beckel was discussing Allen West, he referred to West as…well, Allen West. Without any sense or irony (or shame) Bolling came back with:
“Can I just point something out? You're calling him Allen West. Either call him Representative Allen West or call him Lieutenant Colonel Allen West because he was in the Army -- a war hero.” (NOTE: West was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (generalarticle) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The charges were ultimately referred to an Article 15 proceeding rather than court-martial. Quite the hero.)
For further proof that Bolling is a total tool, during another conversation between Bolling and Beckel, Bolling referred to Obama as "Barry." When Beckel objected, Bolling replied: "That's his name, right? Barack. Barry Soetoro. I think he called himself Barry Soetoro when he was a model in college."
At other times, Bolling has called the President Comrade Obama, The Socialist Spewing Policy Maker and accused him of chugging 40's" and hosting "a hoodlum in the Hizzouse."
So respectful of the Presidency, right? And Bolling’s still going strong as we speak.
Glenn Beck has of course, always showed total deference to the President, withsuch comments as "I don't know what the KGB handlers thought they were sending Barack Obama to do. ... Did I say that out loud?"
And calling our President “a racist with deep-seated hatred for whitepeople.”
Now, Glenn did lose his show on Fox, but there were so many reasons for his shedding advertisers that I don’t think we can necessarily attribute that to his disrespect of the President.
And then there’s Rush Limbaugh—where to start. From his “Barack the Magic Negro” song to “I want this president to fail” the hits just kept on coming. And, although Limbaugh continuously inspires fear and loathing (fear from right wingers that he’ll hurt their careers; loathing from sentient humans everywhere) it was his disrespect for Sandra Fluke that created far more backlash than any of the ugly things he’s said about the President.
OATH OF OFFICE OR OAFS IN OFFICE?
Are you thinking to yourself, “Well, those are just some big-mouthed yakkers. What can you expect?” (I don’t believe you ARE thinking that, but merely included it for conversation’s sake.)
Well then, let’s see what some of our fine elected and wishing-to-be-elected officials have had to say about our President.
We’ll begin with everybody’s hero, Addison Graves Wilson, Sr., better known as Joe Wilson, the South Carolina rep who infamously yelled, “You lie!” during an Obama 2009 address to Congress. What could possibly be more respectful than an actual member of Congress shouting at the President on live, prime-time television?
RESULT—Wilson used his obnoxious outburst as a fund-raising device and raised a ton of cash. In 2010, he won re-election with 53% of the vote and in 2012, he ran unopposed.
Allen West—without comment, some of Allen West’s words.
Always a hit at CPAC
“We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain't on the table.
“Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”
Hey, at least he called him PRESIDENT Obama when telling him to get the hell out of the country.
A few “outliers”:
KansasHouse Speaker Mike O’Neal publicly cited a Bible verse calling for President Obama to be killed, his wife to be widowed, and his children to be orphaned. (He’s also the swell guy who forwarded an email to state house Republicans referring to the First Lady as “Mrs. YoMamma.”)
Marilyn Davenport, Orange County, CA Republican Central Committee, forwardedan email of a doctored photo of the President and his parents asmonkeys.
ColoradoCongressman Doug Lamborn said during a radio interview that he didn’t “even want to have to be associated with … (President Obama). It’s like touching a tar baby …”
And on it goes.
On August 31, 2011 Boehner became the first speaker in history to tell a sitting president that he would not be permitted to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress on the date specifically requested by the White House
“Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner did something that has never before been done in the history of our nation: he said no. He said it would be inconvenient for the House, because, he said, there were votes scheduled in the House for Wednesday night.”
“This is unprecedented,” she added. “No speaker, no Congress, has ever said that to any president in U.S. history.”
The votes Boehner felt were so important: a roll call vote on letting the Special Olympics conduct a torch run in Washington, D.C., and speeches congratulating a girls’ softball team on reaching the world championships.
Even the lack of title used when they talk about PRESIDENT Obama is disrespectful, as Howard Fineman once pointed out:
“They don’t accept the President’s legitimacy in many ways. I have never heard Newt Gingrich call President Obama ‘President Obama.’ It’s usually just ‘Obama.’
“And I know that sounds like a trivial thing,” Fineman added, “but it’s not. It’s very important.”
AND THEN THERE’S JAN BREWER
Yes, I think we can all see how perilous and dangerous it has been for wingers to hurl invective after invective at our President. Oh, it’s true that Allen West lost re-election, and Rush lost some sponsors, but overall, they’ve gotten away with some heinous things and kept on going.
Compare them to a simple 16-word statement made by Natalie Maines in 2003 and then compare the repercussions.
After expressing that she was against the upcoming invasion of Iraq, the Dixie Chick had the audacity to say, “Just so you know, we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
And what happened?
As WDAF-AM in Kansas City, Missouri, encouraged listeners to toss their Dixie Chicks CDs into garbage cans set up outside their studio. The Dixie Chicks were dropped from WTDR-FM in Talladega, Alabama.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, protestors used a tractor to smash CDs and other Dixie Chicks items. The local country station, KRMD-FM, subsequently dropped all Dixie Chicks songs. The same goes for KIZN-FM in Boise, Idaho - and that's just a small sampling.
Limbaugh called for a boycott, Free Republic set up a special page to coordinate boycotts. After Maines called Toby Keith’s “we’ll put a boot in your ass” song ignorant (truer words were never spoken), Keith began displaying a backdrop at his concerts showing a doctored photo of Maines and Saddam Hussein. (Aw, she hurt the big guy’s fee fees.) It was a groundswell of grassroots hate for the Chicks (think Tea Party.)
Paul Krugman had some other ideas about how the boycott tied in with the war cheerleading and got so HUGE.
One of the most striking (pro-war events) took place after Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, criticized President Bush: a crowd gathered in Louisiana to watch a 33,000-pound tractor smash a collection of Dixie Chicks CD's, tapes and other paraphernalia… (my note: This was a Cumulus radio station event.)
Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being promoted by key players in the radio industry -- with close links to the Bush administration…
Most of the pro-war demonstrations around the country have, however, been organized by stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, a behemoth based in San Antonio that controls more than 1,200 stations and increasingly dominates the airwaves.
The boycott of the Chicks was even a main feature of the Congressional hearings about radio consolidation.
At times likening the embargo to Nazi book-burnings and McCarthy-era blacklists, lawmakers said Cumulus' action illustrated the potential danger of allowing corporations to amass nationwide broadcasting networks.
Back in 2003, when John McCain still had some of his marbles, he said:
"It's a strong argument about what media concentration has the possibility of doing," McCain told Cumulus Chairman Lewis W. Dickey Jr. "If someone else offends you, and you decide to censor those people, my friend, the erosion of our 1st Amendment is in progress."
The Chicks suffered greatly for those 16 words. Shut Up and Sing is a documentary about what happened to them before, during and after those words were spoken. Directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecila Peck (Gregory Peck’s daughter), I highly recommend it.
The Dixie Chicks Not Ready To Make Nice was their rebuttal/explanation of what happened, and it won three Grammy Awards-- Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2007. But the climb back was certainly hard…
On Thursday, October 27, 2011, at 5:49 a.m., Kicks 101.5 played “Cowboy Take Me Away.” This is the first time in years the country trio has been heard on a regular basis on Atlanta radio.
Kicks’ move wouldn’t be so momentous without context…The Dixie Chicks were one of the top country acts from 1998 to 2003, with 14 top 10 country hits, from “Goodbye Earl” to “Ready to Run.” Prior to the boycott, from 1998 to 2003, Kicks played the Chicks a whopping 16,000 times. That’s almost two consecutive months of Chicks songs.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY?
If you’re a right-wing mouthpiece of the entertainment, talk-show or political ilk, you have pretty wide latitude to say and do whatever you like in disrespecting the President, but if you’re the number one selling female band of all time, you’d better watch your Ps, Qs (and Ws) at all times.
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB