President Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning and made a plea for “civility… learning how to disagree without being disagreeable.” (As shown in the TPM clip above, he also made a mild joke about birthers.)
This comes at an interesting time, as high-level apologies for alleged uncivil remarks are more in the news than rude comments.
Led by Sarah Palin, Rahm Emanuel has been forced to apologize for calling a bunch of liberals in a private meeting “fucking retarded”; and the President himself was pushed by wingnut provocation to apologize for using a perfectly anodyne metaphor in a speech — “you don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college” — to the City of Las Vegas.
God knows we attend enough rough political speech in the blogosphere to be weary of it but, at the moment, the passive-aggressive tactic of claiming you’re offended by language that was either not meant for you in the first place, or which is only offensive by a ridiculous stretch of the imagination, seems to us more obnoxious than even the insults to which we have long since grown accustomed.
In fact, Obama’s birther joke has already aroused indignation. A commenter at Freedom’s Lighthouse says, “The arrogant jugeared jackass just had to make it about himself, didn’t he?” “I always suspected he wants to keep some doubt out there so he can portray the right as a bunch of crazed conspiracists,” says Jammie Wearing Fool. “If he had any dignity he’d ignore it.”
Expect a demand for him to apologize to Republicans, birthers, or somebody any minute now. Our vote goes to the first candidate who responds to such twaddle, “Oh, chill the fuck out.”
Update: Now Palin is denouncing an adviser to Republican Governor Rick Perry for using the word “retarded” in a conference call. Making this nonsense bipartisan doesn’t improve it; it just increases the pool of available targets.