Our profane president
“My first time was with Obama.” That’s how a new Obama campaign ad targeting young women begins. The ad stars Lena Dunham, the creator of the crass HBO series “Girls,” who compares her first voting experience to losing her virginity.
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody,” Dunham says. “You want to do it with a great guy.”
Few areas of modern life are safe from the over-sexualization of our culture, including, now, the voting booth. This is just the latest in a series of profane episodes coming from the Obama campaign.
According to a cover story in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, Obama referred to Mitt Romney as a “b—sh—–” after an October interview in the Oval Office.
Journalist Douglas Brinkley writes, “Executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. … [S]he said, ‘Tell him: You can do it.’ Obama grinned. … ‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a b—sh—–, I can tell.”
In Confidence Men, Ron Suskind recounts that the first time president-elect Obama met Christina Romer, who would become head of his Council of Economic Advisors, he greeted her not with a hearty hello but rather with, “It’s clear monetary policy has shot its wad.”
“It was a strange break from decorum for a man who had done so outstandingly well with women voters,” Suskind writes. “The two had never met before, and this made the salty, sexual language hard to read.”
Obama once playfully informed a supporter of Marco Rubio’s that if he became Romney’s vice presidential pick, “He might get his ass kicked.”
At a recent campaign rally in New Hampshire, Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, joked about her husband’s manhood.
“I’ve seen Joe up close,” she said as she made a wide motion with her hands, eliciting laughter from the audience. “It’s in my remarks, really,” she insisted with a laugh, looking a little embarrassed.
Mrs. Biden went on to describe her husband’s “big, strong heart,” and talked about how she has “heard the urgency in his voice when he comes and talks about the people he’s met.” At this point, Mrs. Biden is doing all she can to hold in a laugh as she pauses for effect after the word “comes.”
Joe Biden is seen seated in back of his wife, smiling his characteristic Cheshire Cat smile.
Biden is also known for his foul mouth. In September, Biden promised Pennsylvania firefighters that an aide would call to invite them to the White House. “He’s going to call you, no bullsh–,” the VP said.
Politico ran a piece recently called “The 5 Curses of Joe Biden,” detailing Biden’s penchant for profanity.
The most famous was Biden’s assessment to his boss that the passage of Obamacare was a “big f—ing deal.” After the Supreme Court upheld the law, the president tweeted “still a BFD,” with a link to a T-shirt on Obama’s campaign website with the same message.
In September, the Obama campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject: “I’ll be damned.” It touted the campaign having finally closed its fundraising gap with Mitt Romney, outraising the Republican $114 million to $111 million in August.
The email asks for more money and concludes, “After all our hard work over the past 17 months, I’ll be damned if the Romney campaign, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and a handful of anonymous billionaires ‘carpet bomb’ the President and end up deciding this election for millions of Americans in the last 57 days.”
In August, an Obama campaign email was titled “pretty damn cool.” The email announced a “pretty damn cool” convention contest whereby a donor could win a lottery to attend the DNC with First Lady Michelle Obama.
There’s an obvious double standard when it comes to the media’s coverage of presidential profanity. When George H.W. Bush called Bill Clinton a “bozo,” it dominated the news cycle for days. Vice President Dick Cheney met the same response when he told Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy to “f— yourself.”
Maybe none of this should matter. After all, Obama promised to transcend politics, not profanity.
Plus, profanity is something of a local dialect in Washington.
Then again, it’s not very presidential. I can’t imagine Ronald Reagan using profanity in private let alone in public or to rally voters to his candidacy.
The use of profanity conveys a lack of seriousness, and it trivializes the democratic process. Its repeated use contributes to the coarsening of our culture. More than anything, it shows disrespect and disregard for the voters whose support Obama needs to win reelection.