Clown Act: The Dumbest Ethics Train Wreck Of All


I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to write about this.

Unfortunately, the saga of the Obama-mocking rodeo clown has, against my fervent hopes, turned into a full-fledged ethics train wreck. The diagnosis was complete once the Missouri chapter of the NAACP decided to disgrace itself, its parent organization’s mission and its supposed dedication to civil rights by calling for a Secret Service investigation into the incident, which Ken White posted on definitively here.

The Horror: someone mocked the President!  And because this President is black, and because his supporters have continually tried to use his pigmentation  (which should have no impact whatsoever on how he is treated, respected and judged, which is to say, like every other President) to shield him from unrestrained criticism, opposition, responsibility, accountability and satire, a crude comedy act in a setting where crude comedy is  the norm (a rodeo is hardly the Algonquin Round Table) has been turned into a full-fledged exercise in chilling political speech by intimidation.

While George W. Bush was president, Will Farrell portrayed him regularly as a moron, at one point lying on his back playing with a ball of yarn like a kitten while Dick Cheney ran the country. When Gerald Ford was in the White House, the same show, under the stewardship of Chevy Chase, weekly presented that President  as a bumbling, incompetent fool, falling down stairs and routinely injuring himself while the audience howled. In our nation’s capital, at every home game of the local major league baseball team,  a laughing crowd is treated to the spectacle of four actors wearing big-headed costumes portraying four of our greatest Presidents (Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt)—plus William Howard Taft, added this year—racing each other like, well, in Milwaukee it’s sausages, while they fall over, trip each other, and generally act like a clown act, which, in fact, they are. (Here, you can see them being menaced by, yes,  “Sharknado“…)

Oddly, nobody has objected, despite the fact that at least four of the five were great, great leaders to whom the nation owes much, and the fifth was a lifetime public servant who moved from the White House to the Supreme Court, where he served as Chief Justice. Yet because a humble rodeo clown got a laugh from a Missouri crowd by mocking the current successor to these men, he has lost his livelihood, the head of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has resigned in fear that somehow he will find himself on the Obama Re-education Brigade’s vengeance list, and now the NAACP has two unconscionable persecutions that it is demanding, counting its call for the Justice Department to bring civil rights violation charges against George Zimmerman, because he’s a “white Hispanic,”  the only part of the case that he was racially profiling Trayvon Martin that is accompanied by actual evidence.

Would the organization think its call to the Secret Service was appropriate if the rodeo clown was himself an African American? I wonder.

No actually, I don’t.

Wall Street Journal blogger Peggy Noonan correctly points out how  President Obama, who supposedly likes “teachable moments” and who has a penchant for injecting himself in what should be local matters, should handle this expanding mess in which he, not by any direct action of his own, is already a central figure:

“From his Vineyard vacation spot he should have the press office issue a release saying his reaction to finding out a rodeo clown was rudely spoofing him, was, “So what?” Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy, and hopes those politicians (unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly) damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and relax.”

Of course that’s what he should do. That’s what a leader determined to bring the country together would do, what a President who understands his office would do. Obama won’t do it, though. It would mean reprimanding his “base” supporters when they are dead, dead wrong; it would be ungrateful, it would be passing up yet another chance to bolster the narrative that his administration’s problems are all due to racism. It would also be the best possible thing for a nation wondering whether the United States still believes in free speech.

Not that taking Noonan’s advice would end the ethics train wreck…oh nooooo! If Obama did the responsible and statesmanlike thing, I guarantee that pundits on the right, probably led by Rush Limbaugh, would then claim that the whole episode was planned by Obama’s minions to give him a “Sister Souljah” moment, and that nobody should believe for an instant that the President really believes that he should be spoofed. This is the poisonous environment that the President, the Democrats, the Republicans,  the media and the pundits have created over the past five years.

This is why, in the United States in 2013, a rodeo clown donning a rubber mask of Barack Obama starts an ethics train wreck.


Sources: Washington Times, Kansas City Star, Wall Street Journal

26 thoughts on “Clown Act: The Dumbest Ethics Train Wreck Of All

  1. I just saw a post of Michelle Malkin post some horrific pics of Bush being mocked on FB, during his presidency. She was also giving us an example of how one-sided this whole thing is … wrt the Obama clown. And just like the 3 black kids beating the hell out of a white kid on a bus …. which from what I understand, was not even shown (at least in the beginning) on most of the media … shame on the left. They can dish out HATE whenever they please. But they cannot receive it …. when (unfortunately) it rolls out on them.

  2. And this is why I subscribed to this blog after stumbling across it some six weeks ago. Where else will one find partisan-free straight-talk?

  3. I am now convinced that the NAACP has used up their welcome. No longer do they appear to want to help the “poor” blacks in this country. They (in my book) are a hate group equal to the KKK. If Obama opened his big mouth about the freedoms that a simple rodeo clown can perform with his clown face on (being Obama’s) and get a laugh out of it then just wait until he feeds more money and weapons to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. I really think the members of the NAACP are fed ignorance for breakfast as they cannot grasp reality of what will happen to them if “the time comes”. As Houston experiences a rash of robberies and break-ins in an exclusive and wealthy area of town, I don’t see the NAACP hanging around the news team as they show the arrests of black men who must find it easier to steal than work. What’s that you say? Ummmm…guess they never watched “True Blood”. There were at least 5 wearing that same Obama mask…..

  4. A minor correction: It is the MIssouri chapter of the NAACP that is asking for the investigation. I am hoping that the national organization nips this in the bud. There is no end to the embarrassment of living in Missouri.

  5. The day the Great and the Powerful can’t be mocked is the day Freedom dies.

    While I’m no fan of the POTUS interfering in local matters, this is one where he should make it quite clear that while the office should be respected, that the incumbent is fair game.

    He should land with both boots on those who treat him as a tin god, not just tell them to “pipe down and relax”, but castigate them in no uncertain terms. It might be the one memorable thing of his term of office, comparable with Truman’s “The Buck Stops Here”.

  6. Since when has a person or group saying “I’m not offended, really” stopped the well meaning folks who know better from getting offended on their behalf anyway?

  7. Chevy Chase actually apologized to President Ford after he was out of office for the over the top spoofs. Ford was never indigent about the comedy skits and their relationship became amiable. A simpler time indeed.

      • It did leave a permanent mark on Ford’s legacy. I remember an article in Duke’s student newspaper about one of their football players named Gerald Ford. They stated that other than the name, their player had nothing in common with the former president. I’ll say, President Ford played college football for a REAL school.
        A friend of mine went to college with President Ford and said she remembers that, although he was BMOC in those days, he was very nice to everyone. He wasn’t the brightest person in class, but far from stupid. I always thought Ford got a bad rap in history. He inherited a terrible position, where any move he made was going to be viewed as wrong. I think he did the best job anyone reasonably could have to help the country heal after Nixon and it is doubtful that anyone could have done better. When I saw the Gerald Ford Presidential Library in an unused, unlit section of East Engineering on Michigan’s campus, it seemed a sad, but accurate statement on how he is viewed.

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