Noonan: Obama should defend blackface rodeo clown

Because that would super "classy," for some reason

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 14, 2013 1:00PM (EDT)

The vibrations have spoken once agains through their instrument at the Wall Street Journal, columnist Peggy Noonan, who today advises President Obama to defend the Missouri State Fair rodeo clown who this weekend wore an Obama mask before getting run down by a bull for cheering fans. The state's Republican lieutenant governor condemned it, state fair officials called it “inappropriate," and the head of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association resigned over the controversy, but Noonan totally understands why the crowd would cheer the trouncing of a president in effigy, because: Obamacare.

"This is the reason many people don’t like ObamaCare. It’s also part of why people wind up making fun of the president at state fairs," she writes today, linking to a story about disability rights advocates raising concerns about the health care law. On the blackface rodeo clown thing, "everyone should breathe deep" and calm down, she adds.

In fact, Obama should interrupt his vacation to comfort the afflicted clown, because that'd be super "classy," Noon writes:

Let me suggest a classy Obama move that might go over well. 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. This would be graceful and nice, wouldn’t it? He would never do it. He gives every sign of being a person who really believes he shouldn’t be made fun of, and if he is it’s probably racially toned, because why else would you make fun of him?

It never fails to amaze how some confuse the plain text of the First Amendment to assume free speech means the ability to say or do anything without criticism, rather than be free of legal persecution. Who else should Obama issue press releases defending? The Westboro Baptist Church? The KKK? Sure, they all deserve the right to free speech, but that doesn't mean the president needs to issue an official statement defending them. And what does it say about Noonan that she thinks this Rodeo clown -- of all people -- deserves a rhetorical presidential pardon?

Alex Seitz-Wald

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Peggy Noonan Race Racism Wall Street Journal