Several days after the fact, I have a hard time believing this is even a story.
The antics of a rodeo clown who donned an Obama mask at the Missouri State Fair this past weekend has left state officials scrambling to issue apologies and the progressive blogosphere fuming and comparing the scene to a latter-day minstrel show.
A clown wearing a President Barack Obama mask appeared at a Missouri State Fair rodeo this weekend and the announcer asked the enthusiastic spectators if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull."
The antics led the state's second highest-ranking official, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, to denounce the performance in a tweet Sunday. He said it was "disrespectful" to the president.
"We are better than this," the Republican tweeted.
State Fair officials said the show in Sedalia was "inappropriate" and "does not reflect the opinions or standards" of the fair. "We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark," they said in a statement Sunday.
The furor started when fairgoer Perry Beam posted video of the clown in the Obama mask on Facebook and claimed that the crowd was little different from a Ku Klux Klan rally [which naturally begs the question of how many KKK rallies Beam has attended for his informed comparison- NANESB!].
Fairgoer Perry Beam of Higginsville, Missouri attended and snapped photos of the incident, which have spread rapidly via political blogs statewide.
Beam claims the announcer "whipped the audience into a lather" by repeatedly asking attendees if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull." Beam says another clown ran up and "started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy."
In an interview with NewsChannel 5, Beam called it a "racist" display.
Naturally, the 'political blogs' alluded to include far left forums such as Show Me Progress and the Daily Kos. The story gained further attention when AP writer and Salon.com contributor Maria Sudekum picked up on it and both Beam's account and the reactions of officials like Missouri governor Jay Nixon and Sen Claire McCaskill (both Democrats) were front page news for The Kansas City Star. Comments and op-eds in the Star's online edition drew thousands of remarks from across the region and country before the publication decided to suspend comments for the articles- this included a few pithy observations from yours truly that were reiterated in the Twitter format.
At least the #Obama rodeo clown at #MoStateFair isn't forcing me to buy health insurance or shutting down coal-fired power plants
— Fenway Nation (@Fenway_Nation) August 12, 2013
No long after, an op-ed where columnist Yael T Abouhalkah implied that the rodeo clown's antics warranted a Secret Service investigation [coz remember when John Hinkley tried trampling President Reagan with a rodeo bull to impress Jodie Foster? NANESB!].
It’s also borderline illegal; the U.S. Secret Service takes threats against the president seriously. While the president himself was in no danger here, it’s the kind of stupid activity that could give nuts ideas about harming the president.Using Abouhalkah's logic, I suppose opposing Obamacare, gun control, amnesty, various 'green energy' boondoggles or Card Check could 'give nuts ideas about harming the President', so perhaps its best we stay quiet- otherwise President Obama might find himself on the wrong end of an irate bull someday. The Missouri chapter of the NAACP doubled down on the hand-wringing and have reportedly called for a federal investigation into rodeo clowns inciting violence against the President. Also continuing to use the 'logic' of Abouhalkah, the NAACP and those who comment on Show Me Progress or Daily Kos, the Occupy movement must be overtly racist for their practice of wearing Obama masks at various rallies as well.
In reaction to all of the hyperventilating, Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association Mark Ficken stepped down. The clown- identified as Tuffy Gessling- has been hit with a lifetime ban from the Missouri State Fair on Monday. In the future, rodeo clowns who perform at the fair will be [I shit you not- NANESB!] required to undergo sensitivity training as well.
Meanwhile, in what's considered a mostly symbolic gesture, congressman Steve Stockman [R- TX 36] invited the clown to perform in Texas, adding that he'd be welcome any time.
Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of the articles describing events at the state fair rodeo rely heavily on quotes exclusively from Beam's perspective- although the Washington Post thoughtfully was able to track down other State Fair attendees who could vouch for the alleged racism of the mostly white crowd present at the time.
I must admit that I shrugged this off as a non-story when I heard it at first. However, the rebukes directed at the rural, blue-collar crowd from the media, coastal elitists and state party officials comes off as nothing less than tone-deaf, patronizing, thin-skinned hypersensitivity in their defense of a man who has been President for five years- yet anything bad that's happened on his watch is magically somebody else's fault. Seriously- look at the issues President Obama has made a priority and his accomplishments- how well do you think gun control, the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and the Obamacare individual mandate would go over in swing states like Virginia or Colorado- let alone the crowd in a darker red state like Missouri?
The same people who are wagging their fingers at the uneducated rubes and hillbillies in flyover land for guffawing at the antics of a rodeo clown in a President Obama mask raised were eerily quiet when novels and mockumentaries detailing a fictitious assassination of then-President George W Bush were published. They feel that Americans have an unspoken obligation to mock those in power- until they're the ones in power. Then talking about insensitive rodeo clowns becomes much more important than discussing the continuing turmoil in the middle east, the stagnant economy or those in charge using supposedly nonpartisan government agencies to harass political opponents.
I'm sure this could lead to renewed calls for a national 'dialogue' about race in this country, but to a liberal "dialogue" means you're supposed to quietly sit there and nod politely as they are informing you of how ignorant and racist you are. The 'dialogue' is also based on the somewhat laughable premise that folks in flyover country would be OK with higher taxes, gun control, gay marriage, abortion and shutting down the coal industry if it was a white liberal speaking in favor of all these things.
UPDATE- 6/16: Parson the pun, but when it comes to protecting Barack Obama from criticism, this isn't the Missouri Democrats' first rodeo. St Louis radio hostess Dana Loesch details Missouri's recent history of using the mechanisms of state to stifle dissent- starting with 'truth squads' comprised of sheriff's and prosecutors who were acting on behalf of then-candidate Obama in 2008.