Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) achieved the rare and near impossible yesterday: he issued an unethical but presumably sincere apology.
You see, prior to his issuing a statement apologizing to Michelle Obama for saying that she had a big butt, I
a) …didn’t know that Sensenbrenner had said this, because I, like most people, couldn’t care less what Sensenbrenner says.
b)…never had given a moment’s thought to the size of the First Lady’s butt, just as I never thought about Laura Bush’s butt, Ladybird Johnson’s butt, or Pat Nixon’s butt. I don’t think about First Lady butts. Frankly, I worry about anyone who does.
Apparently on two occasions Sensenbrenner regaled small groups with unflattering comments about Michelle’s rear end, on the ridiculous theory that her campaign against child obesity was somehow hypocritical because the First Lady isn’t built like Zooey Deschanel. You see, this is why most people pay no attention to Sensenbrenner: he says things this dumb with some regularity. What does Mrs. Obama’s figure have to do with the health risks of child obesity? Even if she looked like Newt Gingrich in drag, how would that make her campaign hypocritical? Overweight people can’t express concern for the health risks of being overweight? Overweight people know the health risks better than anyone; the fitness advocates that you want to slug are the natural ectomorphs who can eat all day and not gain an inch. So the Congressman’s wisecracks were 1) rude, 2) mean, 3) boorish, 4) uncivil, and 5) stupid. Also 6), untrue, because there is nothing wrong with Michelle’s butt, now that I’ve done some research. Great—now I’m thinking about First Lady butts.
Still, the dumb comments were made to very few, and got little exposure. Then Sensenbrenner decided to apologize to the First Lady for his insults, thus vastly increasing the number of people aware that he had impugned her butt in the first place. The apology actually compounded the offense he was apologizing for, making it an irresponsible, unethical apology that was still a genuine apology. A gentleman would have made a private apology. Actually, a gentleman wouldn’t have had to apologize at all, because gentlemen don’t make derisive comments about a woman’s appearance.
Strictly speaking, Sensenbrenner should apologize to Mrs. Obama for his apology, but he’s done enough damage.
I’ll accept his apology to me, however, for making me think about First Lady butts. (Now where’s that picture of Barbara Bush….?)
4 thoughts on “Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Butt-Head”
Wow! This guy is truly a piece of work. I saw his percentage of votes received in Wisconsin. It is amazing. It hasn’t gone below 62%. His positions have been nutty over the years. It is no surprise this would actually come out of his mouth. You don’t even need a credible source. Really? I never thought about this about any woman politician. Although I am ashamed that I knew guys that voted for Palin because of her looks.
You see the wonders of gerrymandering. He doesn’t really have to fight for his spot.
In all the news photos of the First Lady, the only thing I noted was that she is a tall, beautiful woman.
And it looks like her two kids will be lucky enough to grow up like her.
As to Sensenbrenner, Butt-Head, perhaps. But I’d call him an A-Hole..
At the risk of echoing partisan talking points, a lot of House members, junior members in particular, sound like “butt-heads” and, in my opinion, thugs. I’d personally attribute it to the long election cycle, which means House members, who are only in office for 2 years per term, are spending half their term campaigning. As a result, members these days tend to be pugilistic, loudmouthed partisans for two reasons: first, it helps them mobilise the partisan base in off-year elections, which tend to be much more sparsely populated than Presidential elections. Second, getting in the news for saying crazy things like “Michelle Obama has a big butt” is free publicity to them; as the old adage goes, any publicity can be good publicity. So the sort of people who do best in these offices may be people like Non-Sensenbrenner who naturally speak before they think about the consequences, and in fact, I suspect their staffs may have a tacit hand in matters. After all, if your congressman stays in office, you stay employed.