ADDENDUM: Good, he (or his handlers, or both - it doesn't matter beyond the result) knew immediately how appallingly he'd muffed it, and he rang the president of the Special Olympics and apologised. And the big difference between him and Shrub on this one is that, unlike Shrub, I believe Obama really was appalled at himself.
It's a very nice thing to see him recognising his own humanity, after having to watch and listen to two solid years of his most devoted fans being appalled and outraged at mere mortals daring to question their deity.]
* * *
Yes, it's about the Bowling Alley comment - sort of.
Okay. So, he spoke without having Jon Favreau edit and coach him and rehearse him first. He didn't have his entourage of PR honchos onstage with him. He essentially made fun of the handicapped on national television.
Was it malicious?
Nope. And I speak as someone who has spent time in a wheelchair and probably will again. I have multiple sclerosis. This disease doesn't get better, it gets worse. So yeah, I have some cred here.
Was it boneheaded jawdroppingly stupid?
Yep. I've been hearing since 2004 about what a spellbinding orator he is. I've been scratching my head and saying, whuh...? I don't get it. He's not safe out without a speech-minder. The gaffe reminds me of Ronald Reagan, another wildly popular president who sucked his own wingtips every time he spoke for himself.
Should I, you, or anyone else be pissed off about it?
Possibly. I'm not pissed off about it, particularly - the fact that he let that superstitious, subconscious, and very human piece of stupidity slip on national television is not bothering me nearly as much as the lack of reaction to it.
Should his legions of fans be shrugging it off?
NO. Definitively and utterly not.
The way one friend put it: It was like hearing a friend slip up, and you cringe.
Guys? This is not Your Friend Barry we're talking about. None of you are bowling with him. None of you are playing croquet in the Rose Garden with him. All the insider texts on your Blackberrys during the election do not make you a personal friend. No one's asking you to the White House to help the kids with their homework any time soon.
We are talking about the President of the United States, here. The leader of the free world. The most powerful man on earth. Every word he says, scripted or unscripted, is going to get scrutinised, and it should, damn it. It is our job to hold our leaders accountable. If we don't, who will?
So I don't get the silence from his followers and I'm waiting for someone to tell me, with a straight face, that if Shrub had said this, it wouldn't have made headlines. Oh, please. Hypocrisy, much? The blogosphere would have melted into a bright shiny puddle of outrage, and that would have been the appropriate reaction.
It's the silence that's bothering me.
And oh, by the way, a warning. At some point, we may get more of these. And the first person who shrugs off or defends the use of phrases like "jewing down" or "gypping" loses all cred.
Causes Deborah Grabien Supports
EMILY's List (early member), Amnesty International (member on two continents for thirty years), Animal Welfare causes (we rescue feral cats), NARAL and...