Criminal Justice

From President to Pundit

Why Obama should have stayed quiet about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates

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Barack Obama got to be president because he had qualities Americans were yearning for after the bitter tumult of the Bush years. He was calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions. He didn't jump to conclusions, he didn't ignore inconvenient evidence, and he didn't blunder into messes. That was the guy we elected last year, and right now, a lot of people miss him.

He was absent Wednesday when a reporter asked his views on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. At first, Obama sounded like himself. He acknowledged that Gates is a friend, "so I may be a little biased here" and pointed out helpfully, "I don't know all the facts."

That set him up nicely to forgo further comment on a matter that had nothing to do with the topic of his news conference (health care reform) or his responsibilities. Or, rather, it should have.

Instead, he proceeded to rake one Cambridge police sergeant over the coals for having "acted stupidly," before proceeding to place the episode in the context of the "long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

With that, Obama went from president to pundit. We've all heard speculation that Sarah Palin is aiming at a TV career on Fox News. Maybe Obama has his eye on Rachel Maddow's chair.

The Gates story is familiar by now. He arrived home to find his front door jammed. He tried to force the door, before going to the back and using his key. Meanwhile, a neighbor called police to report a burglary.

Sgt. James Crowley arrived to find a man inside. Gates says he complied with a request for identification but was rebuffed when he asked for the cop's name and badge number. Crowley said Gates initially refused to provide an ID and became loud, insulting, and verbally threatening. In the end, Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct, a charge that was dropped, and Gates accused him of racial bias.

We can all agree with Obama on one thing—he wasn't there and didn't know all the facts. The White House press office tells me the president didn't talk to Gates or read the police report before commenting. Nonetheless, he rushed to conclude that the cop was not only dead wrong but possibly racist. Which sounds like the kind of unthinking snap judgment that leads to racial profiling.

No one acquainted with the periodic outrages committed by bad cops in Chicago and elsewhere can doubt that law enforcement personnel sometimes grossly abuse their powers. Crowley would not have been the first officer who was ever gratuitously belligerent or insulting.

But we can't really know whom to believe. Gates said he couldn't have screamed at the cop, because of a "bronchial infection." But a photo of Gates in handcuffs looks like a man yelling, not nursing his vocal cords. A neighbor who witnessed the incident told the Boston Herald, "When police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, 'I'm a Harvard professor. … This is racial profiling.'"

Crowley, who teaches a police academy class on racial profiling, is an unlikely villain. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the erudite literary scholar bellowing, as the cop said he did, "I'll speak with your mama outside."

Figuring out if Gates or Crowley was at fault, or if both were, is a task a jury hearing hours of testimony might find difficult. It's not something a man with Obama's responsibilities should waste his time on. But if he can't provide an informed opinion, he should do the cop and the public the favor of providing no opinion.

The Obama of the campaign knew the importance of being careful, deliberate, and circumspect. After enduring a president who was often just the opposite, the American people also recognized those as valuable traits, and probably hope to see them again in this White House.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs ridiculed the notion that Obama has the option in "nationally televised news conferences to pass on questions like it was a game show." But Friday Gibbs said the president regretted fueling a distraction.

He ought to. Fueling distractions is the job of TV pundits. And in the future Obama might draw on the wisdom of a predecessor, Calvin Coolidge, who attested, "I have never been hurt by anything I didn't say."

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  1. There is no question as to who is at fault. They arrested him for disorderly conduct – a bull shit charge that wouldn’t have held up in court. They arrested him because he was disrespectful to them. They arrested him because he was being an asshole. But it isn’t illegal to be disrespectful or an asshole. The cops should have just walked away.

  2. ” On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine the erudite literary scholar bellowing, as the cop said he did, “I’ll speak with your mama outside.”

    Someone who is actually erudite — and even somehow got a degree in literature — would be able to distinguish between William Shakespeare and Robert Burns.

  3. Obambi can’t help showing off just how smart and cool he is. So he shoots from the hip, thus getting himself into greater trouble than if he just kept quiet. This guy really isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

    Nice observation, Mr. Chapman.

  4. Of course our punditry will not let the one interesting message from this sordid affair be learned. I tuned in to Meet the Press and the three liberals on the paneled talked about this being about “black man in America still can’t catch break blah blah”, conservative panelists talked about “elitist prof trys to pull rank, Obama goes meddling”. Not a one tried to make this a discussion about abuse of power by an officer and possible reforms of police authority…

  5. Obama had no problem voting “present” often before he became president. He should have stayed silent on the Gates case.

  6. MNG, it’s very possible that the police officer abused his power. Because I wasn’t there, I can’t say either way. Gates has the ability to press civil charges against the officer if he wants.

  7. Obambi can’t help showing off just how smart and cool he is. So he shoots from the hip, thus getting himself into greater trouble than if he just kept quiet. This guy really isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

    Yes, it is so terrible to be correct and speak it aloud when the correct thing is unpopular because people are stupid cop-worshipers.

  8. jtuf
    Have you read the officer’s own police report? Even assuming his facts his disorderly charge was pretty weak to say the least…It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that he abused his power or has a troubling ignorace of the law he is empowered to enforce over the rest of us…

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html

  9. LMNOP
    Don’t you know that cops cannot admit they are ever wrong, and we citizens can never think that is the case, or their feelings will be hurt, their morale weakened, and we will all be raped and robbed by meth-addict/zombies while the cops helplessly stand by?

    Is that what you really want?

  10. he was calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions. That was the guy we elected last year

    No, it turns out we didn’t.

  11. “Barack Obama got to be president because because he had qualities Americans were yearning for after the bitter tumult of the Bush years: he was calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions.”

    Actually he was never any of those things and anyone who ever thought otherwise is a complete idiot.

    And that wasn’t the reason he was elected in any event. He was elected because McCain was a bad candidate, because Obama went back on his word about sticking to public financing and could therefore outspend McCain, and, most importantly, because the financial crisis and economic meltdown hit it’s most acute point right before the election. Even with all his bungling, McCain was even in the polls with Obama before that hit. Democrats are always better than republicans in shoveling bullshit about how government is going to “save” people from the ravages of the market. The economy was bad enough to scare enough people into willingess to buy into that crap to put Obama over the top.

  12. He acknowledged … ‘I may be a little biased here’ and pointed out helpfully, ‘I don’t know all the facts.'”

    Gives me hope he will make such admissions before all of his policy utterances. Transparency!

  13. I frankly don’t care about H.L. Gates. He shot his mouth off and was an asshole to some cop and cop hooked him up for it. Was the cop wrong? Probably he was, although I would like to hear the radio tapes that H.L. Gates doesn’t seem to keen on seeing released.

    But as injustices go, this is like number 8 million on the list. I am sorry but I can’t get that upset about H.L. Gates and his Geico caveman chip on his shoulder had the misfortune of running into Officer Eric Cartman of the Cambridge Police Department. What does piss me off is that we have a President who doesn’t seem to give a shit about any of the numerous victims of the justice system and the drug war but does find time to shoot his mouth off in defense of one of his buddies.

  14. it’s hard to imagine the erudite literary scholar bellowing, as the cop said he did, “I’ll speak with your mama outside.”

    This is Ivy league ball sucking. I can think of a certain “legal scholar” who can’t hardly finish a sentence without about a dozen um, uh, ah’s, even if fools did buy the “calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions.” bullshit.

    While college certainly educates plenty of people, holding a degree, even one at Harvard or Yale, is not evidence of being educated.

  15. This story is getting passed around the Reason staff like a bong.

    -Bad arrest.
    -Bad call for the dumb ass cop. (not uncommon)
    -Stupid ass elitist Harvard professor.
    -Stupid ass black guy pulling race card.
    -Stupid ass president backing the race card bullshit.
    -Incoming spin and photo op. with all three in the oval office.
    -Stupid ass president magically heals all race wounds between cops and, well everyone at this point with magical unicorn farts and fairy shit.
    -We all live happily ever after with huge debt, huge unemployment, green midget cars, windmills, and forced volunteering.

    The end.

  16. “it’s hard to imagine the erudite literary scholar bellowing, as the cop said he did, “I’ll speak with your mama outside.”

    You obviously haven’t met many of them. When I was in college I helped arrange for Cornel West to come speak. I had to babysit him for 24 hours. I could totally imagine him doing it. He was rather unimpressive.

  17. While college certainly educates plenty of people, holding a degree, even one at Harvard or Yale, is not evidence of being educated.

    While it’s no guarantee, it is something of an indication.

    But as injustices go, this is like number 8 million on the list.

    So now you only selectively care? What are your selection criteria?

    What does piss me off is that we have a President who doesn’t seem to give a shit about any of the numerous victims of the justice system and the drug war

    That’s a legitimate beef.

    but does find time to shoot his mouth off in defense of one of his buddies.

    That’s not.

  18. What does piss me off is that we have a President who doesn’t seem to give a shit about any of the numerous victims of the justice system and the drug war but does find time to shoot his mouth off in defense of one of his buddies.

    :::high fives John

    . I can think of a certain “legal scholar” who can’t hardly finish a sentence without about a dozen um, uh, ah’s, even if fools did buy the “calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions.” bullshit.

    Not that it matters a whole lot, but most people I know did leave the “yo mama” jokes beind in 9th grade, for all but the most tongue-in-cheek purposes.

  19. This story is getting passed around the Reason staff like a bong.

    If it were a bong, it would certainly be much more fun.

    Stupid ass president backing the race card bullshit.

    It is an amazing talent to parse something to say what they in fact didn’t. He said “I dunno if race was a factor here” and since he was asked, “race is sometimes a factor in situations like this”. Only a really poor listener would confuse that with “obviously race was a factor here”.

  20. So now you only selectively care? What are your selection criteria?

    I’d say dead people and dead animals would be a good start or delineation.

  21. “That’s a legitimate beef.

    but does find time to shoot his mouth off in defense of one of his buddies.

    That’s not.”

    Bullshit it is not. If the President were concerned about the bigger problems with the justice system, then maybe he would have a leg to stand on about Gates. But he hasn’t done anything but continue the policies of the past. He owns the biggest platform in the world and the only problem he feels the need to speak about is one involving a buddy of his. That is pathetic.

  22. I’d say dead people and dead animals would be a good start or delineation.

    So, so long as the victim is still alive I shouldn’t care?

  23. It is an amazing talent to parse something to say what they in fact didn’t. He said “I dunno if race was a factor here” and since he was asked, “race is sometimes a factor in situations like this”. Only a really poor listener would confuse that with “obviously race was a factor here”.

    He also said he had no facts. The difference between the two statements? After the no clue about race comment he spent the next five minutes railing on race. You spent that five minutes looking at the hand on the table while the other hand was taking your wallet. Only a really poor listener wouldn’t realize that his entire answer to that question consisted of “I don’t know” BUT I think.

  24. It appears Gates is going to continue his fulminating (and plans for a suit and/or creating a documentary and/or providing “evidence” from individuals re the character/treatment of people by Crowley). All of this is quite excellent because it will continue to harm the boob Prez.

  25. I had to babysit him for 24 hours. I could totally imagine him doing it. He was rather unimpressive.

    Yeah, but he had a cameo in one of The Matrix sequels IIRC, so there’s that.

  26. |”We can all agree with Obama on one thing-he wasn’t there and didn’t know all the facts”|

    ______

    We and Obama ‘know’ that that Police Officer Crowley’s charges against Gates were ‘quickly’ dismissed by the Cambridge city authorities.

    Such a quick dismissal ‘means’ the charges were obviously bogus… and that Gates was falsely arrested.

    That is what we all know — and it is all one needs to know about the core issue of this event.

    Crowley could not even convince his own police buddies on his side of the story.

    Back at headquarters, the police “Court Prosecutor’s Office” quickly determined that Crowley falsley arrested Gates… and dropped all charges.

    Of course, cops are immune from crimimal penalty for deliberate false arrests.

  27. “But as injustices go, this is like number 8 million on the list.

    So now you only selectively care? What are your selection criteria?”

    I think the President should care most about people in the most trouble and least able to defend themselves. By that criterea, Corey Maye, a poor black man facing the death penalty would be a 10. And Gates, a rich, tenured professor who had disorderly conduct charges dropped against him, would be a .0001. Yes, there is a criterea to care and Gates doesn’t meet it.

  28. After the no clue about race comment he spent the next five minutes railing on race.

    You have an interesting definition of “railing”.

    Yeah, but he had a cameo in one of The Matrix sequels IIRC, so there’s that.

    Both sequels. He was Councillor West. In any case, regardless of one’s opinion of the guy personally, I would recommend his “The American Evasion of Philosophy” as an interesting take on the Pragmatic school.

  29. I think the President should care most about people in the most trouble and least able to defend themselves. By that criterea, Corey Maye, a poor black man facing the death penalty would be a 10. And Gates, a rich, tenured professor who had disorderly conduct charges dropped against him, would be a .0001. Yes, there is a criterea to care and Gates doesn’t meet it.

    Generally speaking, it is extremely rare for a person to care more about a person in mortal peril they’ve never met than their good friend who is in today’s trouble.

  30. Dismissing a case alone is not evidence that the charge was bogus. Cases are dismissed all of the time. In this case it may be a very weak case but the PR aspect was probably a bigger reason for the DA punting.

  31. Of course it would be nice if the President spoke out about the criminal justice system’s major injustices, but let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. It was proper for him to call the cops actions stupid, indeed it warranted stronger words. If the Gates case is the vehicle that gets people thinking about abuse of police power, then why kick the gift horse in the mouth?

  32. And look, everything I’ve seen about Gates makes me think he’s unlike Cornell West. It’s a bit troubling that this comparison is made “hey if he’s anything like that other famous black Ivy League prof…”

  33. Franz is right, cases are dismissed for many reasons, though of course the feeling it can’t be made to stick is a major reason for dropping them.

    The abuse of authority here need not be concluded from the dismissal, but from reading the officer’s own report. It’s damning enough.

  34. Horsehockey!
    If a friend of yours were apparently harrassed by the police, you wouldn’t be silent because you are important. In fact, for that very reason you would speak out. That’s what Obama did. What? We have freedom of speech for everyone but the President?

    He did not “play the race card.” In fact, he was very careful about that. Once again Steve applies a double standard, one for libertarians/conservatives, another for liberals and fundies. Why is he allowed to do this?

  35. Generally speaking, it is extremely rare for a person to care more about a person in mortal peril they’ve never met than their good friend who is in today’s trouble.

    I agree with you, but that’s why the White House needs an intern that regularly peruses Hit & Run, or at least Radley Balko’s work.

  36. So John I imagine you are fully behind the efforts of Jim Webb (D-Va) who has with much fanfare and much political courage been quite outspoken on the needs to systematically reform the crj system from the ground up? I don’t recall you ever mentioning such support which seems strange given your passion for fixing this system displayed here…

    Surely you’re not waiting for similr efforts from Mitch McConnell or Cornyn, eh?

  37. Parse away. 249 word response covering how he felt. 61 words(25%) covering the “I don’t know” and his first two issues with the arrest. Then 188 words(75%) about race. This answer clearly deals more with the disorderly conduct charge being a bullshit charge and not race.

    Well, I — I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here.

    I don’t know all the facts. What’s been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house; there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place.

    So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into — well, I guess this is my house now, so — (laughter) — it probably wouldn’t happen.

    (Chuckling.) But let’s say my old house in Chicago — (laughter) — here I’d get shot. (Laughter.) But so far, so good. They’re — they’re — they’re reporting. The police are doing what they should. There’s a call. They go investigate. What happens?

    My understanding is, at that point, Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in. I’m sure there’s some exchange of words. But my understanding is — is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped.

    Now, I’ve — I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

    [race speech]And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately. That’s just a fact.

    As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.

    That doesn’t lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that’s been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.

    And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that’s why I think the more that we’re working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody’s going to be.

    All right? Thank you, everybody.

  38. but that’s why the White House needs an intern that regularly peruses Hit & Run

    They just have the DHS do that. We’re domestic terrorists, remember?

  39. Can Obama’s comments be used in court? “President Obama believes the cops acted stupidly”.

  40. I mean, in Libertopia.

  41. They just have the DHS do that. We’re domestic terrorists, remember?

    You’re right, SF, so all the columnists can be dismissed out of hand. 😉

  42. “Franz is right, cases are dismissed for many reasons, though of course the feeling it can’t be made to stick is a major reason for dropping them.”

    The accused being a personal friend of the President and the charges being minor also can be a major reason for doing it. Unless Gates had punched the guy out, it seems pretty unlikly that charges would be pursued against someone that connected. There are two sets of laws in this country in case you haven’t noticed.

    “If the Gates case is the vehicle that gets people thinking about abuse of police power, then why kick the gift horse in the mouth?”

    But it has done just the opposite everyone but Reason. It is a terrible case to use to point out the abuses of police power. The victim is a complete asshole with a load of political connections. The facts of what happened are unclear. And charges were never brought. All Obama speaking about it has done is turn it into a partisian issue. Worse still, the fact that Gates is such an asshole, has allowed every cop in America to say “see what we have to put up with”. There are tons of people every day who are arrested on a lot less pretense than Gates was arrested on.

  43. hmmm
    It’s a bit disingeneuous to include lines like “That doesn’t lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that’s been made.” as equal parts of the “race speech” as “the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause.”

  44. “So John I imagine you are fully behind the efforts of Jim Webb (D-Va) who has with much fanfare and much political courage been quite outspoken on the needs to systematically reform the crj system from the ground up? I don’t recall you ever mentioning such support which seems strange given your passion for fixing this system displayed here…”

    I agree with Webb about that. He is absolutely right and couragous to do what he is doing. It would be nice if you know the President found time to support what he is doing rather than Mao Maoing the Cambridge Police Department.

  45. If you want a case that points out the abuse of police power, you need one that shocks the conscience. I am sorry but this one doesn’t. Yes, intellectually, being an jerk to a cop should not be a crime. But most people don’t look at it that abstractly. They look at is and go “if that jerk got up in my face, I would have tasered him.”

  46. Did you read the next line? We’ve come real far, BUT we still suck. Seriously you’re a great poster, but you still suck at it.

  47. Even if you want Obama to say something about this, he said the wrong thing. Obama said tha the Gates case was an example of the problem of minorities being profiled. Bullshit. Gates wasn’t arrested because he was black. He was arrested because he got up in a cop’s face about something. The Gates case has nothing to do with race. It is about the cops thinking they are some kind of Pretorian Guard who are above criticism. Obama missed the point completely. By making it a race issue, he completely obscured the larger and legitimate point.

  48. “Mao Maoing the Cambridge Police Department.”

    WTF? You agree that this was a troubling abuse of power, but the President shouldn’t criticize the police?

    “Did you read the next line?”

    You mean this one, the next line?

    “And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.”

    Yeah, that totally negates the previous one…

  49. I just read the police report.
    Anybody find it interesting that officer does not mention how he gained entry into the home?
    One minute he sees Gates through a pane window, then a few sentences later he is leaving the foyer.
    An officers entry into a private residence is one of few constitutional protections we have in these situations, and we have no idea how he got in there. Did he walk through an open door? Did Gates let him in? Did he demand entry?

  50. “WTF? You agree that this was a troubling abuse of power, but the President shouldn’t criticize the police?”

    I think he should criticize it for the right reasons. Gates wasn’t arrested because he was black. Any white person who gets up in a cop’s face will get arrested to. This is about cop’s thinking that insulting them is a crime. That legitimate point is totally lost thanks to the community organizer and chief playing Jessee Jackson for the week.

  51. “number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

    So he lists his first, i.e., most important point, that Gates anger was justified; his second, that the police acted stupidly in making the arrest, and third, and lastly, he’s troubled by the possibility of racial aspect.

  52. I agree with MNG completely. Just typing those words makes me feel a bit queasy.

  53. and we have no idea how he got in there. Did he walk through an open door? Did Gates let him in? Did he demand entry?

    I believe it was a jump cut.

  54. It doesn’t negate anything. It’s the position held that follows every softball compliment. Obama does it all the time. We’re a great contry, but… We have come a long way, but… We are doing a great job, but… The important part of the line isn’t the beginning, it’s the end.

    When your boss says good job Spanky, but you mess up the protocol. Do you walk way thinking “I did an awesome job! YA ME!” or do you walk away thinking “FUCK FUCK FUCK how did I let that protocol slip?”

  55. I agree that he likely wasn’t arrested because he was black, and it’s unfortunate that Obama or anyone’s commentary on this tends to stray in that area; but I prefer those criticizing the officer to those defending his jack-booted actions.

  56. I think he meant what he said:
    We have come a long way, look at me.
    WE still have this bad history all too recent, and that colors things for blacks.
    This kind of thing still goes on, and that troubles things too.

  57. So he lists his first, i.e., most important point,

    The first point is never the most important. It’s also usually not the most remembered. The time spent on elaborating the issue is the issue remembered and more often than not the one considered more important.

  58. We’ve come real far, BUT we still suck.

    We’ve come real far, but we still have some distance to go. What is it about the mere word ‘race’ that turns everyone into flaming idiots who no longer understand English?

  59. I believe it was a jump cut.

    LOL!

  60. |”Dismissing a case alone is not evidence that the charge was bogus” {franz kafka}|

    _______

    Yes, as you imply, overall ‘police/political corruption’ is certainly an alternative reason for so quickly dropping criminal charges.

    But that alternative reason automatically indicts the Cambridge government as “corrupt”… far beyond a lone cop.

    Can criminals in Cambridge go free quickly … if they have the right political/Harvard connections (???)

    Which is it — one bad cop… or an entire corrupt
    local government ?

    Cambridge public-servants have a solemn duty to prosecute criminals — either they failed in that duty … or they recognized that gates was NOT a criminal.

    (… are they any better than New Jersey “public-servants” ?

  61. We’ve come real far, but we still have some distance to go. What is it about the mere word ‘race’ that turns everyone into flaming idiots who no longer understand English?

    The same thing that people shy away from like there is nothing to see. I used generic examples and of course added hyperbole. Failure to see the style of compliment and complaint, not an uncommon thing, is something a flaming idiot might miss. Missing the fact that the majority of the answer was driven by the race issue is flaming idiotic. Gates pulled the race card. Obama being his friend felt the need to back Gates assertion. If he hadn’t he either wouldn’t have commented or he would have left the entire end of his answer out.

  62. As many have said previously, it’s too bad this has turned into a race thing and not an abuse of police power thing.
    It simply should not be possible to be arrested in your own home for disorderly conduct. I wonder how often it happens?

  63. What is it about the mere word ‘race’ that turns everyone into flaming idiots who no longer understand English?

    NASCAR.

  64. As for Chapman’s article, I agree that it is very disappointing.

  65. As many have said previously, it’s too bad this has turned into a race thing and not an abuse of police power thing.

    But it’s not about race remember. No one involved, especially the president, is talking about race.

    It simply should not be possible to be arrested in your own home for disorderly conduct. I wonder how often it happens?

    That and property rights. Or even the elitist aspect. If this was some poor ass black guy that was plumber we would have never heard about it. Then again most people, especially anyone in a minority, know to keep your mouth shut around police, document the hell out of the incident, and prepare for a long battle. I guess this common sense is lost on the smart folks at Harvard.

  66. If Obama is out of line for answering a direct question from the press before he “had all the facts”, then exactly how fucking far out of line is Chapman, for writing an article about this incident while ignoring basic facts about it?

    Obama didn’t know all the facts, but stumbled like a blind squirrel on to the right answer, namely that Crowley acted stupidly. [Frankly, even that treats Crowley too nicely, because it assumes he acted the way he did out of error and not out of malice, which is more likely by far].

    Chapman, on the other hand, with lots of time to think about it and access to the internet while writing, writes that it would take a jury hours to decide who was right here – even though the disorderly conduct charge could never make it to a jury, because the arrest is faulty in ways that have direct precedents on point and the case as Crowley makes it would be summarily dismissed out of hand if it ever made it before a judge.

    Obama made two statements during the press conference:

    1. The police acted stupidly.
    2. Police in America sometimes racially profile.

    In order for Obama’s position to be wrong, either the police had to be correct here, and there have to be no racist police officers anywhere in America. Is that really what you’re arguing, Chapman?

    John’s issue of there being greater injustices to focus on is certainly a valid one. But the press and the public have, for their own reasons, decided that they’re really, really interested in this one. So we can either take advantage of that public whim to make a case about police misconduct, or we can try to force the public to pay attention to different cases. We’ve had approximately zero success at the latter so far, so sometimes you have to use the case the public decides to notice to make the point.

  67. I forgot:

    Disorderly person also applies to noise violations and the intent to incite or create an atmosphere. Which is part of the reason the charge is bullshit 99% of the time. So the guy blaring the stereo can often be charged with a disorderly charge in most states.

  68. What is it about the mere word ‘race’ that turns everyone into flaming idiots who no longer understand English?

    NASCAR.

    He was referencing me and I hate NASCAR. Much bigger fan of WRC and F1.

  69. But as injustices go, this is like number 8 million on the list.

    So now you only selectively care? What are your selection criteria?

    Well, if you are president of the United States, you begin by focusing on problems that (1) actually have to do with the federal government of which you are chief executive, and (2) you know something about, beyond what you were able to glean from a quick read of Yahoo News.

  70. “Obama made two statements during the press conference:

    1. The police acted stupidly.
    2. Police in America sometimes racially profile.

    In order for Obama’s position to be wrong, either the police had to be correct here, and there have to be no racist police officers anywhere in America. Is that really what you’re arguing, Chapman?”

    It is not that either statement is necessarily wrong. It is that one has nothing to do with the other. Just because Chapman should have been more professional and walked away from the ranting and raving professor doesn’t mean he racially profiled him. The problem with draggin race into the conversation is that Obama through mentioning racial profiling, implied that Chapman was a racist. He basically assumed that because a white guy acted stupidly in a position of authority it must have been racially motivated. That is totally unfair to Chapman. It also pisses a lot of white people off. Thanks to Gates and BO making this about race, White people now can’t criticize the arrest without calling Chapman a racist. That is not productive.

  71. So we can either take advantage of that public whim to make a case about police misconduct, or we can try to force the public to pay attention to different cases. We’ve had approximately zero success at the latter so far, so sometimes you have to use the case the public decides to notice to make the point.

    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Democrats? Amateurs.
    Libertarians are the true masters.

  72. He said “I dunno if race was a factor here” and since he was asked, “race is sometimes a factor in situations like this”. Only a really poor listener would confuse that with “obviously race was a factor here”.

    Actually people who are familiar with Obama-speak, and who have learned that “Under the Obama health care plan, you will be able to keep your doctor and your health insurance if you want” means “Under the Obama health care plan, you may well be pushed to the public option and lose your doctor and your health insurance, like it or not” could reasonably read “I dunno if race was a factor here” to mean “obviously race was a factor here.”

  73. Libertarians are the true masters.

    Libertarians=Cleveland Sports Teams?

  74. Obama was elected for revenge.

    People wanted revenge against the white majority.

    This is why they’ve been voting liberal for almost a century.

    All the people who don’t fit in — most justly, some unjustly — band together to form democracy’s equivalent of a lynch mob.

    Like nerds in high school, they compose their group from all those who aren’t in the spotlight and succeeding: geeks, nerds, minorities, gays, angry women, basement dwellers, self-hating white people, etc.

    They will vote for anything that’s against what they hate. They don’t care how corrupt it is, or how stupid it is.

    Obama was elected by this group and those who were mislead by his popularity. Now we’re just seeing what was there all along: racial and class revenge.

  75. I, for one, think all libertarians owe Prof. Gates a big, fat, wet smooch for sucking all the air out of the room just as Obama was getting ready to try to ram his slow-motion health care nationalization bill through.

  76. Brett Stevens, you voted for Obama?

  77. Democracy’s equivalent of a lynch mob?

    Ridiculous, BS.

  78. He was calm, sober, fair-minded, and guided by facts rather than emotions. He didn’t jump to conclusions, he didn’t ignore inconvenient evidence, and he didn’t blunder into messes. That was the guy we elected last year, and right now, a lot of people miss him.

    Chapman, you fool. You voted for packaging. Alinsky with a bow on it.

    Obama has moved from personally attacking those who disagree with his policies (as opposed to simply debating the policy differences) to demonizing average citizens for whatever racebaiting agenda he has in his head.

  79. He was referencing me and I hate NASCAR.

    Not just you, as certainly you’re not the only one who came to the conclusion that saying something may or may not be about race makes it in effect saying it is absolutely without a doubt about race.

  80. Democracy’s is the equivalent of a lynch mob?.

    I am sick of fixing your typos!

  81. Obama was elected for revenge.

    People wanted revenge against the white majority.

    Yah, all those white people wanted revenge against the white majority.

    Okaaaay.

  82. Well, I was trying to make a clever joke using the alternate meaning of the word “race” and a stereotype of NASCAR fans as being only marginally literate, but ya’ll ruined it with the seriousness.

  83. Dammit, now I explained the joke, so it’s super-ruined. Thanks a lot.

  84. Like nerds in high school, they compose their group from all those who aren’t in the spotlight and succeeding

    Clearly, nerds are just terrible at succeeding in high school. What?

  85. Dammit, now I explained the joke, so it’s super-ruined. Thanks a lot.

    “That machine made shoes for orphans. Nice job breaking it, hero.”

  86. I feel like I’m in Bizarro world.

    Is this not Reason, a libertarian website? The same libertarians who regularly urge blacks to support them because they oppose the War on Drugs and the WOD is carried out with practices and results that have a discriminatory effect on blacks? The same that says all people should be suspicious of use of government authority?

    And which now has so many people mad at the President for talking about discriminatory practices and results related to the criminal justice system and for calling the use of government authority over a citizen stupid?

    WTF?

  87. Well, I was trying to make a clever joke using the alternate meaning of the word “race” and a stereotype of NASCAR fans as being only marginally literate, but ya’ll ruined it with the seriousness.

    I’m sorry. NASCAR brings out the worst in me. I even dislike making left turns.

  88. Look, I understand how black people might be sensitive to the profiling angle, what with hundreds of years of being unfairly treated and some evidence of some of that still going on (remember Gates would have been a teen-ager in 1965 America; TAO likes to say that liberals should be faulted for thinking every day in America is Selma 1965; well some people should be faulted for acting like discrimination in America happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away).

    I can understand as well that some people are sensitive to any playing of the race card after it has been played self-servingly by so many racial hucksters for decades.

    But for people who claim to be worried about government arrogance and power over citizens the existence of disorderly conduct charges, and their trumped up use here, it’s clear that outrage needs to be focused on the police actions here.

    I dismissed the Ron Paul newlsetters as blip here a while back, but it looks like libertarianism has some serious house cleaning yet to go on things racial if so many purported libertarians can only focus on race card playing in this matter…(and this is not to say that other ideological movements, including those I identify with, don’t need house cleaning over certian issues btw)

  89. MNG, you just don’t understand. When the black democrat does it, it is to further his nefarious African superiority plan to destroy the white race expand big government.

    Obviously.

    Okay, I take it back. Perhaps ‘racist’ is too harsh (except Mr. Stevens up there; he sure is special). Perhaps “myopic hypocrites”? We clearly welcome all challenges to unchecked police impunity…except this one.

  90. > On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine the erudite literary scholar bellowing, as the cop said he did, “I’ll speak with your mama outside.”

    Not hard to imagine at all, especially when tempers flare. The highly educated don’t walk around speaking like the Victorian-era royalty all the time.

  91. Not just you, as certainly you’re not the only one who came to the conclusion that saying something may or may not be about race makes it in effect saying it is absolutely without a doubt about race.

    While in Catholic school I learned that saying something might or might not be, and then spending the rest of the conversation talking about it, means that the person talking thinks it is. It’s not hard to understand or even see. It was a softball support based in elitism and race. How dare some stupid white cop arrest my black Harvard friend. Did I mention he was a Harvard professor and black?

    If the idea is to error on the side of believing that Obama somehow didn’t think this was about race and instead just wanted to highlight race relations in a health care speech then he addressed the issue, and thus intervened from the bully pulpit, because the man is his friend. Which is just as disturbing.

    For a little clarity read my other posts about this. I was calling the race angle bullshit almost from post one. It was about abuse of power. The fact the president spent the majority of his answer on race leads me to think he thinks the race issue is more important, which is bullshit squared, and scary to the nth. The race issue lies with why the president thought he had to comment and then discuss race relations. The issue with the arrest is about the abuse of power. And Gates retarded approach to the whole thing is a hilarious case of elitism with smidgen of OMG RACE CARD. People claiming all or nothing on any one thing are full of it.

  92. If the Federal government offered a public option for race-baiting it would remove the greedy, for-profit professors from the market and replace them with government employees that are actually answerable to the people.

  93. “We clearly welcome all challenges to unchecked police impunity…except this one.”

    Bullshit. No one on here is defending the cop other than to say that he is just a typical jerk cop not a racist. Obama and Gates want to use this episode to say that all white cops are racist. That is crap. I guarentee you any white person who had acted like Gates would have gotten hooked up to. The problem is not that the cop was a racist. The problem is that cops think they are above criticism. Obama completely missed this point. Instead, he made it all about race and turned what could have been a valuable point into just another “all white people are racist” charade.

    You are just as bad. No just because people don’t think this was about race, does not make them racist.

  94. “we elected”

    Speak for yourself, you Obama cocksucker.

  95. What does piss me off is that we have a President who doesn’t seem to give a shit about any of the numerous victims of the justice system and the drug war but does find time to shoot his mouth off in defense of one of his buddies.

    Bingo.

    As for Elemenope, you just love it when the Prez defends one of his buddies because you are hoping to become one.

  96. I’m willing to cut Obama some slack here. Sure, he made a verbal blunder… when he segued immediately into the Afr-Am/Latino thing, the implication was wide open that the officer acted as a racist. And the political lines I’ve seen on other blogs and message boards are telling: Left-leaners mocked and skewered Bush Jr on every social misstep and verbal gaffe, so the right-leaners will try to find every opportunity to do the same for the next 4 or 8 years.

    Every President, with that limelight, can’t resist the temptation to speak from the “pulpit” on occasion. Even the simplest opinions can’t escape riling *someone* up. Wasn’t it Bush Sr who once mentioned off-the-cuff how much he never liked eating broccoli, then the broccoli farmers instantly got outraged?

    Obama’s ‘gaffe’ is not much of a story, imo. It’s guys like Gates, pulling a page from the Jesse/Sharpton playbook here, who is the main problem. Did Crowley act of out line or not follow protocol? If so, then bellow about how Crowley acted out of line or didn’t follow protocol. But doing that would’ve meant the story staying as local Boston coverage, and not as national “15 Minutes o’ Fame” headline coverage which Gates is really enjoying. He had a racial chip on his shoulder and saw a perfect opportunity to unleash it on Cambridge Police.

  97. We and Obama ‘know’ that that Police Officer Crowley’s charges against Gates were ‘quickly’ dismissed by the Cambridge city authorities.

    Such a quick dismissal ‘means’ the charges were obviously bogus… and that Gates was falsely arrested.

    The police only drop the charges if they were without merit? I didn’t know this. I used to think these things were sometimes influenced by things like revenue generations vs. expense, the likelihood of a conviction, politics, and clout.

  98. Obama completely missed this point. Instead, he made it all about race and turned what could have been a valuable point into just another “all white people are racist” charade.

    Completely agree. While its a shame we’ve missed such an opportunity to talk about the sickness at the heart of cop culture, I would say it has been worth it, this time, to derail quick passage of the health care abomination and dispose of the facade of the post-racial Presidency.

  99. Obama screwed the pooch here and that’s great. He’s now been exposed as a race hustler.

    He brought race into an issue where most people in America can see race had little to do with it.

    As for any remaining idiots on these boards bringing race into it, what would you say to my two friends who got disorderly conduct charges for being loud on their porch last week? ‘This is what happens to black men in America?’ Two different races, neither was black.

  100. BTW, am I the only one interpreting Chapman’s “we elected” wording to refer to the American majority as a unit, and not necessarily how he individually voted?

  101. QSl, what ‘American majority’? He didn’t receive a vote from the majority of Americans.

    Maybe the majority who voted, but that’s a different thing.

  102. “Completely agree. While its a shame we’ve missed such an opportunity to talk about the sickness at the heart of cop culture, I would say it has been worth it, this time, to derail quick passage of the health care abomination and dispose of the facade of the post-racial Presidency.”

    The black members of the Cambridge polic department have all come out in favor of the cop. That tells you this is not about race. It is about class as much as anyone else. Gates looked at the cop and saw him as one of the little people and someone he could push around. The cop looked at Gates and thought “you think you are so important, watch this”. This is about class, both working versus upper and cops versus civilian. It is not about race.

  103. I think Obama was more of a score-political-points opportunists than a race hustler. In his mind, he assumed Crowley to be cut of the same cloth as Mark Fuhrman and it would “come out” in the media that Crowley shouted, used the n-word, etc. After all, berating a racist cop is one of the most touchy-feely PC things you can do on camera.

    But lo and behold, Obama soon found out – when he finally read all the facts of the incident – that Crowley wasn’t exactly the second coming of the Imperial Grand Wizard and his pal Gates went the racial route all my his lonesome.

  104. I would say that it is possible that part of Gates motivation might be the very fact he taught racially based classes. A kind of “How dare you call me a racist.” thing. But that can’t be known and is pure conjecture. The fact he was willing to arrest a man on his porch for yelling at him is far more disturbing than his motives.

  105. If Obama wants to comment on a high profile victim of the justice system, how about saying something about Plaxico Burris? I am not kidding. You have a high profile black athlete being prosecuted by a media whore DA. Two years for accidentily shooting yourself in a nightclub? That is rediculous. It is also racist as hell. Many black athletes come from very bad neighborhoods. A lot of very bad people know who they are and how much money they have. If I were a millionaire athlete, I would have a weapon everywhere I went. Yet, whenever one gets caught with a gun, lefty sportswriters portray them as murderous crips.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/07/27/burress.ap/index.html

  106. > “The fact he was willing to arrest a man on his porch for yelling at him is far more disturbing than his motives.”

    But isn’t this pretty much SOP for all law enforement? I’m not defending it, and maybe others here more familiar with law enforcement know better than I, but I don’t think it’s ‘just’ Crowley. If during a traffic stop someone gets out of their car and gets into a cop’s face and yells, they’ll typically (maybe after a warning or two) cuff them to avoid any chance of escalation into physical contacts.

    Sure, Gates was FAR less likely to take a swing at the officer than some hoodlum on the street. But wouldn’t it be an instance of “profiling” if cops gave Gates greater leeway because he “looked” the part of an older, wiser, affluent scholar who is less likely to really escalate things?

  107. “Gates looked at the cop and saw him as one of the little people and someone he could push around.”
    Jesus. This is such bullshit on so many levels.

  108. MNG is tarring far too many people here, but I agree that calling mild Obama’s remarks those of a “race hustler” probably tell far more about the commenter than about Obama.
    Those would have been surprised if the arrest really HAD been about race must be living on some other planet, or in a gated community.

  109. …Obama’s mild remarks.
    (I don’t really think of him as “mild Obama”.)

  110. does any body will expresed himself if this will happend to a white person in a rich community

  111. But wouldn’t it be an instance of “profiling” if cops gave Gates greater leeway because he “looked” the part of an older, wiser, affluent scholar who is less likely to really escalate things?

    Using your judgment is not the same thing as “profiling.” Brainless zero tolerance is not liberty’s friend.

    If during a traffic stop someone gets out of their car and gets into a cop’s face and yells,

    Being pulled over by a cop is not the same thing as having a cop standing on your doorstep after it has been established he has no reason to be there.

  112. “Gates looked at the cop and saw him as one of the little people and someone he could push around.”
    Jesus. This is such bullshit on so many levels.

    A Harvard academic/graduate thinking they are better than some dumb cop.(most people are by default, but don’t feel the need to tell the cop) That’s unprecedented.

    MNG is tarring far too many people here, but I agree that calling mild Obama’s remarks those of a “race hustler” probably tell far more about the commenter than about Obama.

    You got a little left there on the corner of your mouth. Might want to hide the blue dress too, you know. Just in case.

  113. le coding and preview fail.

    MNG is tarring far too many people here, but I agree that calling mild Obama’s remarks those of a “race hustler” probably tell far more about the commenter than about Obama.

    You got a little left there on the corner of your mouth. Might want to hide the blue dress too, you know. Just in case.

  114. “Gates looked at the cop and saw him as one of the little people and someone he could push around.”
    Jesus. This is such bullshit on so many levels.”

    No its not. Gates’ fit is nothing but “don’t you know who I am!!” If this had happened to me, I can tell you it would have annoyed me but I wouldn’t have been running around screaming at the cop.

    Cops don’t like to arrest people. It is a pain in the ass. Takes a ton of paper work and usually means working late. Gates must have been a complete shithead to get the cop to arrest him.

  115. Two different races, neither was black.

    They added a third race? That’s crazy talk.

    Those would have been surprised if the arrest really HAD been about race must be living on some other planet, or in a gated community.

    OMG I knew it! RACISTS ARE EVERYWHERE!

  116. “But a photo of Gates in handcuffs looks like a man yelling, not nursing his vocal cords.”

    Yes, and why would a black man, arrested and handcuffed in his own home by a white cop, be yelling? I mean, what would he have to yell about? Besides, we all know that it’s a crime for a black man to yell at a cop anyway. So that proves that Gates is guilty. Next case!

    Seriously, Gates should have pulled a gun on the cop. Then conservatives and libertarians would have defended him. Right?

  117. Circle Jerk, Part IV.

  118. Bullshit,

    The cop was stupid if for nothing else than arresting an important Harvard professor that’s a friend of Obama.

    In fact the cop even admitted that the professor warned him “do you know who I am”

    When people say that they are either friends of politicans, or the mob. Either way best to leave them alone.


  119. Yes, and why would a black man, arrested and handcuffed in his own home by a white cop, be yelling? I mean, what would he have to yell about? Besides, we all know that it’s a crime for a black man to yell at a cop anyway. So that proves that Gates is guilty. Next case!

    Context. It is almost as fundamental as reading.

    But we can’t really know whom to believe. Gates said he couldn’t have screamed at the cop, because of a “bronchial infection.” But a photo of Gates in handcuffs looks like a man yelling, not nursing his vocal cords. A neighbor who witnessed the incident told the Boston Herald, “When police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, ‘I’m a Harvard professor. … This is racial profiling.'”

    Seriously, Gates should have pulled a gun on the cop. Then conservatives and libertarians would have defended him. Right?

    If he was a 71 year old former Marine 1 pilot I would cheer like a giddy school girl.

  120. calling mild Obama’s remarks those of a “race hustler” probably tell far more about the commenter than about Obama.

    You don’t think it’s race hustling to bring race into a matter which had nothing to do with it?

  121. So let me see if I can sum up:

    Obama comments and discussion of wrong problem,
    BS = Bullshit
    RB = Race Baiting Ratio (divide by Phi)
    G = Government growth rate

    BS?*RB???G???+3

    solve for x

  122. “but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be angry, and two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof they were in their own home,”

    Anybots want to defend that one as not speaking out of ignorance? The contention “any of us” would be angry if the police asked for identification while investigating a burglary is bazaar if you are not speaking to or for the great burglar community.

    Bullet point two is simply factually incorrect. Gates was not arrested in his home.

    “And number three — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

    This non-sequitur simply proves Obama can count to three. There was some doubt at some point, but we now have that all cleared up. I’m going to very generously assume by “being stopped by law enforcement” he is referring to traffic stops and the like and not “being stopped from committing crimes”, as that would be a racist assertion Latinos and blacks are stopped from committing crimes more often than Asians, whites, and Pacific islanders. While on the subject of non-sequiturs…I notice he didn’t lump young people in that category of who “gets stopped” often. Oversight, or maybe he wants to keep his race-obsessed focus on “racial profiling” only and not on “effective profiling” which just happens to have some correlation to race and age. (I’m not defending profiling. It is likely an effective way to use limited resources, in the way a strip search of a 95 year old Scottish woman at the airport is not. But it is just as morally wrong as, for example, charging one group of people a high auto insurance rate on the basis of the actions of other people in the same demographic. Might be effective, and should not be illegal in the private sector, but it is distatsteful to me.)

    Well shit, I have way too much work to get done this weeks to spend all day commenting on Obamisms. I work in the private sector. “They expect results.” (favorite line from Ghostbusters)

  123. “You don’t think it’s race hustling to bring race into a matter which had nothing to do with it?”
    In this particular case in those particular words? Fuck no.

  124. And I don’t need an excuse to yell anything I want to yell at some cop on my own property. He’s my goddamned employee, and he better remember it.

  125. But before I get back to work I’d like to comment on John’s 11:21 comments. I’m not going to, because I REALLY want to start this week off getting some actual work done, but I’d like to.

    Kroneborge, I’m assuming you are kidding. “Do you know who I am” sort of statements should be punishable by death.

    OK, really, I’m going to do some work now.

  126. (And no — fortunately I do not manage any employees myself.)

  127. “Then conservatives and libertarians would have defended him.”
    Don’t conflate the two, Vanneman.

  128. You don’t think it’s race hustling to bring race into a matter which had nothing to do with it?

    The actual words the man used are an absolute defense against this accusation.

    Obama, like anyone else, is entitled to have the actual meaning of the words he uses in his statements be definitive.

    Remember when William Bennett got in trouble because he, as a deliberate example of a ridiculous moral argument, talked about how one could reduce crime rates by increasing the minority abortion rate? The people who denounced him then said, “Well, we don’t care what Bennett’s actual words were, and we don’t care what a reductio ad absurdum is, Bennett was being insensitive blah blah blah.”

    That’s what you people are doing now.

    “Well, we know that Obama specifically said he did not know if this incident was about race, and specifically said that his comments about race were separate and distinct from this incident, but we’re going to look past the actual meaning of his actual words and make up our own meaning, based on how many words he used to talk about race, and based on the fact that he said those words in proximity to the words he said about this case.” There’s a word for what it makes someone to do that – and that word is “douchebag”.

    Some people are saying, “Of all the cases Obama could have commented on, he picks this one?” Well, you can also say, “Of all the reasons to give Obama shit, you guys pick the one time he’s right?”

  129. “Some people are saying, “Of all the cases Obama could have commented on, he picks this one?” Well, you can also say, “Of all the reasons to give Obama shit, you guys pick the one time he’s right?”

    But he is not right. The cop is not a racist. The case wasn’t about racial profiling. Obama’s assesment of the case and criticism of the cop was completely wrong.

  130. @ bigslacker
    A little toungue in cheek, but still it should have been a warning for the cop.

    I don’t think the arrest should have happened anyway, because I think it was a bullshit charge and was a clear example of arrogant cop/abuse of power.

    But I think the part that made it stupid was the cop ignoring common sense and arresting and important person.

    Cops like military should know RIP (rank has it’s privleges) should it be this way, of course not. But it is. Why open a can of worms like this? Don’t fuck with powerful people, it’s almost always more trouble than it’s worth.

    Also note to myself become a powerful person !

  131. But he is not right. The cop is not a racist. The case wasn’t about racial profiling. Obama’s assesment of the case and criticism of the cop was completely wrong.

    Way to ignore the rest of my post, John.

    Obama did not say that the cop was a racist. The actual words Obama said specifically do NOT say that.

    The only way to claim that he did say that is to go beyond the actual meaning of his actual words, or to claim “implication” or what have you, and since I always call leftists douchebags when they do that, I have to do so in this case too.

  132. “You don’t think it’s race hustling to bring race into a matter which had nothing to do with it?”

    In this particular case in those particular words? Fuck no.

    I completely disagree. Obama had a prime opportunity to talk about cops run amok and instead he jizzes all over himself talking about race because it runs his life. He has his current job because of his skin color so it’s not really a surprise he is obsessed about it.

    Obama is a small man in so many ways and his response to this question again showed his smallness.

  133. Fluffy, I could go on to talk about what a douche you are but I don’t have all the facts so I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll just talk about douches in the rest of my response and let you take from that what you will.

    See? I pulled an Obama.

  134. I’m with Obama on this question even if his answer was awkward and once made, backing down was the worst direction he could have gone with, he did the right thing to address the subject. It would not only been a dereliction to avoid it, but if he took a pass once he was inevitably asked, he would have come across as weak.

    Confronted with that aspect of leadership, he should have went all in. Knowing that this question would come up, the best course of action would have been to have read up on the commonly employed abuse of power associated with disorderly conduct charges, and made a statement to the effect,

    ‘Departments across these United States have failed to teach their officers the proper case law in regard to DC charges so my hand is forced by their inattention to do so right now. I’m obviously not going to go through this state by state, but Massachusetts will be our example, so after tonight, there is little ambiguity about the proper conduct of law enforcement officers going forward . . .’

    It would be an amazingly arrogant thing to have done, but that is where the value of a true leader comes in to play.

  135. “The only way to claim that he did say that is to go beyond the actual meaning of his actual words, or to claim “implication” or what have you, and since I always call leftists douchebags when they do that, I have to do so in this case too.”

    No he never called him that. He just happened to go on for five minutes. Why talk about racial profiling if the implication isn’t that the cop was a racist? The only way racial profiling is relevent is if Gates was profiled.

    Stop sucking Obama’s cock on this.

  136. Fluffy, don’t fall for the Parsin’ President’s scam. You’re smarter than that.

    A pro forma disclaimer shouldn’t be allowed to dissolve the substance of what he said (such as it is).

    He can’t have it both ways. If this case had nothing to do with race, then why all the blather about race?

  137. I had to babysit him for 24 hours. I could totally imagine him doing it. He was rather unimpressive.

    Yeah, but he had a cameo in one of The Matrix sequels IIRC, so there’s that.

    I sat in on an interview done by a journalist friend of mine who worked for a black oriented arts weekly back in the early 90’s. The interview was with Ice-T, and he was damn impressive. He was talking about the LA riots, and you can imagine it was a bit of a rant about corruption, police brutality and the like, except the thing was, the interview was a year before the actual riots.

  138. Fluffy, I could go on to talk about what a douche you are but I don’t have all the facts so I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll just talk about douches in the rest of my response and let you take from that what you will.

    See? I pulled an Obama.

    And if I accuse you of calling me a douche, I would be a fucking liar.

    No he never called him that. He just happened to go on for five minutes. Why talk about racial profiling if the implication isn’t that the cop was a racist? The only way racial profiling is relevent is if Gates was profiled.

    No, it isn’t. If Gates was not actually profiled, but if the frequency with which blacks ARE profiled led to Gates being mistaken about what was going on, this would help to explain why Gates was a dick.

    A pro forma disclaimer shouldn’t be allowed to dissolve the substance of what he said (such as it is).

    Actually, the disclaimer is part of the substance, so this is false.

    The disclaimer carried the content in the answer about Crowley and the Cambridge PD and the stuff about racial profiling was just boilerplate about policy in general.

  139. I keep forgetting that racists are everywhere. It’s fortunate there are a vocal few willing to remind me of it.

    I just hope they don’t go on too much longer calling attention to all the racist cops. I hate the idea of losing my white privilege of being able to scream at police with impunity if they are forced to even things up.

  140. Fluffy when people say what Obama said, it doesn’t mean they don’t mean it, it’s more like a smokescreen so they don’t have to pay for their words. It’s like when people say “with all due respect”, what they really mean is “I’m about to disrespect you and I don’t give a damn”. If they meant to show respect they’d just keep their mouth shut, or find a different way to say it.

    Basically Obama has to learn the same thing Bush had to learn, and every president has had to learn his first year: he is the President now, and can’t shoot his mouth off anymore.

  141. Crowley was stupid to arrest Gates. The furuor over the President saying as much shows just how defensive the Cambridge PD is about it. Don’t they know what the word “stupid” means? And then what was their (PD’s) reaction? Crowley comes on and says defiantly he will never apologize for anything and that the president has no business sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong and he’ll “think about” accepting the White House invite. Some balls. And on top of that signs turn up outside of Gates’ house calling him a racist. Of course it’s not like Cambridge/Boston is a bastion of equal rights, is it? Remember Susan Smith and the “black” guy who killed her 3 kids and the subsequent door-to-door manhunt for the “black” guy? What pisses me off is that Obama apologized to Crowley. Just once I’d like to see him do somehing gutsy like stick up for black people instead of always caving in to whites. Once again it’s the same old story — you may be the president and you may be black but choose one or the other because we sure as hell aren’t going to let you be both.

  142. Elemenope is a cop hater . Clear and simple.

  143. Yes, and why would a black man, arrested and handcuffed in his own home by a white cop, be yelling? I mean, what would he have to yell about? Besides, we all know that it’s a crime for a black man to yell at a cop anyway. So that proves that Gates is guilty. Next case!

    No, it proves that Gates is bullshitting when he claims that he couldn’t have been yelling because he had a bronchial infection.

  144. Figuring out the gist of the story between Gates and Crowley need not be difficult at all. One can easily devine enough of the truth by answering two simple questions.

    1: Who had something to gain by escalating the encounter?

    2: Who had something to lose by escalating the encounter?

    Without a doubt, Gates’ story is much further from the truth.

  145. We have freedom of speech for everyone but the President?

    Say what you want on your own time.

  146. An experienced attorney, such as Mr. Obama, should recognize that there is an appropriate time to abstain from public judgment. “I am a friend of the person arrested so I am an interested party. Therefore I must “recuse myself” from judging the matter in the press.”
    That would have addressed the question without wading into the manure pile of the Gates case, allowing it to be discussed on its merits or lack of them.

  147. At least it isn’t just Dick Biden making the dumbass comments…

  148. If Sarah Palin is stupid, then Joe Biden is a parking meter. – Dennis Miller

    Heh.

  149. This article lost me when the author referred to Gates as “the erudite literary scholar.” Talk about begging the question!

    That a pipsqueak instructor of “identity studies” could be thought of as Gates is can only reinforce the sorry truth that our so-called elite schools ain’t what they were thirty years ago.

  150. This is yet another example of the media creating news. Reminds me of when some idiot reporter asked Obama during the presidential debates what he thought about steroid use in major league baseball. What the hell do you think he is going to say?

    I guess a lot of “journalists” like to toss out these cute little zingers for the express purpose of getting the politician off-message. And to stir the pot…

    So, great job Lynn Sweet. Mission accomplished. You have successfully taken a minor misunderstanding and drummed it up into a major national catastrophe.

    Don’t we have bigger issues to worry about?

    Idiot Media strikes again…

  151. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

  152. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets

  153. The shortest way to do many things is to only one thing at a time.focus is the strongest weapon.

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