Mark Halperin’s suspension from his MSNBC commentating gig for suggesting that President Barack Obama was “a dick”–after asking for a seven-second delay for his extremely premeditated slip of the tongue–calls to mind so many recent suspensions: David Shuster’s, from MSNBC, for saying Hillary Clinton had “pimped out” her daughter Chelsea during the 2008 campaign; Ed Schultz’s, from MSNBC (oh my!), for calling Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.”
MSNBC apologized to the children watching Mr. Halperin on Morning Joe (sure, all of those children), but the President, surely, gets it. He swears, too! (Just like us!) Last year, Mr. Obama responded to Matt Lauer’s urging to “kick some butt” on the BP oil spill with the working-blue comic’s principle of escalation, by saying that he needed to “know whose ass to kick.” (On morning television! Where was his suspension from NBC News?)
That’s not all! In 2009, ABC News leaked an off-the-record portion of an interview in which Mr. Obama referred to Kanye West, who had recently interrupted Taylor Swift’s Video Music Awards acceptance speech, as a “jackass.” Oh, mercy! We’re setting up an analogy to see which profanity is more justified: Mr. Obama’s purported high-handed treatment of the press corps is to “dick” as VMA hijinks are to “jackass.” And is “off the record” better or worse than “seven-second delay”?
And, of course, there was Mr. Obama’s audiobook treatment of his memoir Dreams From My Father, whose many moments of in-character lewd language make good YouTube moments. Literature, too? Is nothing safe from the scourge of political profanity?
(We’re nonpartisan, so we’ll note that we blame the whole thing on Dick Cheney cursing out Patrick Leahy in a less than Lincoln-Douglas moment of debate.)