In a skit last weekend in the Inner Circle show, annual charity event put on by the New York press corps to roast the Mayor, Hillary Clinton joined de Blasio as a surprise guest and chided him for delaying his endorsement of her presidential campaign.
“Thanks for the endorsement. Took you long enough,” Clinton said
“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. Time,” de Blasio replied. Little gasps were heard in the audience, for C.P. Time, more correctly “CPT”—you know, like EST?—means “Colored People Time,” referring to the alleged proclivity of African American and Hispanics to have a casual regard for punctuality.
Black “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in the hit musical, was on stage as part of the skit, and admonished the mayor, saying, “I don’t like jokes like that, Bill.”
Hillary then intervened and said, “Cautious Politician Time. I’ve been there.”
I’ll let you compose yourself after the that hilarious joke before continuing.
OK, now? Good.
The use of “CPT’ immediately caused a wave of criticism on social media, especially from African Americans. Reporters, at the event and afterwards, were a bit sluggish to catch on, because many of them didn’t know the term (and didn’t get the intended joke.) I do know the term: it was taught to me by African American and Hispanic colleagues long, long ago. I have never heard a white person use it in my presence.
The Bernie Sanders campaign quickly saw an opportunity and accused Clinton of intentionally using a racist slur. The political correctness brigade in the progressive ranks came down almost as hard on de Blasio and Clinton as they would have if the skit participants were Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Conservative bloggers and pundits found the spectacle of de Blasio and Clinton being attacked for political incorrectness delicious, and gloated.
What’s going on here?
1. The joke wasn’t racist. It wouldn’t have been racist if Republicans had performed the skit, either. The device of misleading an audience into thinking someone has broken a taboo by saying something outrageous and then revealing that the audience had leapt to the wrong conclusion is a classic genre of joke. Mike Huckabee employed this in his final statement at the first Republican Presidential Candidates debate, when he said, as Donald Trump could be seen on camera fuming…
“It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who’s very high in the polls, that doesn’t have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead…and, of course, I’m talking about Hillary Clinton.”
2. It was certainly predictable that such a joke would be vulnerable to attack in this period where the perpetually offended are eager and lying in wait to pounce on any statement that could be considered “racially insensitive” no matter how tortured the rationale required to reach that conclusion.
3. The episode proves that Democrats realize there is a double standard and count on it to inoculate them against criticism for words and statements that they know would immerse Republicans in full scale scandals. De Blasio, married to a black woman, assumed that he could safely walk the racial edginess tightrope without ever being accused of racism. Clinton takes the knee-jerk good will of the black Democratic base for granted. Both have not been paying sufficient attention (Hillery and Bill should touch base with each other now and then). .The African American and Hispanic sense of entitlement, extortion and power has become a phenomenon with its own momentum, with city police departments reluctant to do their jobs, liberal universities submitting to absurd demands for special treatment for “students of color,” and once-revered figures like Bill Clinton being confronted by Black Lives Matter. Democrats let this genie out of the bottle, and it is turning on them. Good. They deserve it.
5. Hillary and de Blasio have fostered a supporter base that is humorless, relentless, merciless, and unsophisticated….all the better to mislead them and keep them focused on hating “the enemy.” Then the candidate and the mayor expected these same social justice plodders to comprehend an amateurishly performed joke about the tendency to assume offense too quickly!
4. The left-biased media is trying to mark conservatives and Republicans as hypocrites for enjoying this episode so much. It is not hypocrisy. The term the that applies is Shakespeare’s “hoisted by his own petard.” Progressives and Democrats nurtured a culture where careers and reputations can be exploded by a single and innocent miscalculation. Seeing two heroes of the left metaphorically dangling high in the air with one foot in a snare of their own construction is cause for legitimate mockery. This is what George Will calls “condign justice.”
5. The excuses offered by Clinton and de Blasio were worse than the incident. De Blaiso’s explanation was that”It was clearly a staged show. It was a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter-intuitive and say, ‘cautious politician time.’ How does the fact that the skit was scripted change his accountability for reading the script? First, nobody thought that the skit was improvised, and second, is a politician really using that “I didn’t write the words that came out of my mouth” excuse?
Hillary, meanwhile, blamed everything on de Blasio! “Well, look, it was Mayor de Blasio’s skit. He has addressed it, and I will really defer to him because it is something that he’s already talked about,” Clinton told Cosmopolitan.
Again, she voluntarily participated in the skit. She is accountable for her own actions, except that Hillary Clinton never accepts responsibility for her own actions. Aren’t you glad you endorsed her, Mayor?