For all of his absolutely excellent traits, it must be admitted that President Obama is a pronounced latecomer to the “personal-proxy-apology-protocol” (has a nice ring, doesn’t it) as opposed to that of statehood, i.e., he quite early in his presidency (2009) eloquently apologized in proxy-mode to Egypt and Saudi Arabia for the very existence of the U.S. citizenry but only recently has managed to do so on the personal level, with his eloquent proxy-apology on behalf of talking-head Rush Limbaugh to Ms. Sandra Fluke account Limbaugh’s calling her a naughty name. His S-Q (sensitivity-quotient) went up 25 points with the women voters but, of course, he wasn’t thinking of that when his empathetic gene kicked in.
This doesn’t mean that the prez can’t apologize personally. He certainly can, as when he apologized to the Cambridge police for remarking them as acting stupidly, though it’s unclear as to any recanting of that opinion. Perhaps his biggest failure to date account lack of proxy-apology awareness has been no offer of apology on behalf of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright to Americans for the reverend’s beseeching of God in the matter of damning the nation and therefore damning its citizens into some sort of perdition, with feathers all over the place as the chickens come home to roost.
The most prominent failures lately of the prexy’s insensitivity to proxy-apology awareness had to do with remarks made last year by comedians Maher and Colbert about Sarah Palin, “dumb twat” and “f—king retard,” respectively. Somehow, those appellations didn’t rise to the level of “slut;” therefore, no response from the nation’s apologist-in-chief was felt necessary. It would have been embarrassing to do so now anyway, since Maher just contributed a cool million to Obamessiah’s campaign.
But there have been other times during Obama’s tenure when he might have exhibited some modicum of responsibility for making proxy-apologies. For instance, MSNBC’s fair-haired boy Ed Schultz (reincarnation of Keith Olbermann but without the requisite amount of mouth-frothing) went public last May with his opinion of Laura Ingraham and called her a “right-wing slut.” Since that so nearly approximated Limbaugh’s pronouncement vis-à-vis Ms. Fluke, one might have expected a terse proxy-apology for Mr. Schultz but Obama didn’t feel the need, and it wasn’t an actual election year anyway.
Or, take the case of Mr. Schultz when he opined a while back that Army Major Nidal Hasan was a “terrorist.” No one appreciates being called a terrorist and yet the prexy didn’t perform a proxy-apology on behalf of Schultz to a member of the military, of which he’s the commander-in-chief. The killing of 13 civilians or military personnel and wounding of many others hardly rises to the level of terrorism, so the prez was certainly derelict in not making things right with the major, who only committed cold-blooded murder, certainly not terrorism.
Schultz went even further and blamed Vice President Cheney for Nadal’s crimes, and Cheney wasn’t even in office at the time. One supposes the prez, sensitive to the circumstances of any administration, no matter the party, would have done a proxy Schultz-apology to a former veep, but he was derelict in his duty.
Or, take the case of David Corn, Washington bureau-chief for Mother Jones, who said in the same clambake with Schultz that he thought Nadal was psychotic. Obama offered no proxy-apology in that matter, notwithstanding that no one wants to be called “crazy,” not even by a Mother Jones intellectual of the caliber of Corn. Again, Obama didn’t stand up for the major. However, the major, 2.5 years after the fact, has never even been brought to trial, so maybe the prez is exhibiting a different kind of sensitivity.
One harkens back to the president’s performance in Tuscon in January 2011, a sort of run-up to the state-of-the-union harangue of last year, when, unlike the memorial service for Nadal’s victims, he had the people applauding at the end of nearly every sentence, virtually dancing in the aisles, much like the Wellstone funeral back in the day when Senator Harkin waged a foot-stomping travesty of that affair, which was in an election year. The president’s theme in Tucson was the need for a more civil discourse, yet he accepts a million cool ones from a slime whose discourse is beyond uncivil, strictly cesspool material on roughly the intellectual level of a porcupine.
Okay, most of this is tongue-in-cheek…for a reason. It points up the fact that the president, besides being subjectively selective in his approvals, tacit or otherwise, has trivialized his office to the extent of getting into a petty fight over condoms, of all things. One can only guess at the laughter other world leaders exhibit when considering this. Is the president a flake? Perhaps he will apologize to himself on my behalf for bringing up the question, thus bringing the “personal-proxy-apology-protocol” to a level unheard of.