So, the latest “poutrage” from Newt Gingrich is apparently aimed at…
At a recent fundraiser for President Obama, DeNiro made a joke when talking about the First Lady.
“Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” DeNiro said, to laughter from the crowd. When someone in the audience yelled, “no!”, DeNiro continued, “Too soon, right?”
To me, a fairly innocuous joke, but there can be a racial element construed. So, I really don’t have a problem with someone taking offense. And when I first saw the joke, I thought there might be something I actually agreed with Gingrich on. Then, I saw his response.
“What DeNiro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country,” Gingrich said. “If people on the left want to talk about talk show hosts, then everybody in the country should hold the president accountable when someone at his event says something that is utterly and terrible unacceptable as what Robert DeNiro said.”
Yup, that’s where he lost me. See, he’s referring to the anger at Rush Limbaugh about his remarks over the course of over 20 years, that culminated two weeks ago in his attacking a Georgetown student and activist for three days, calling her a slut, a prostitute, and asking her to send him sex tapes. Gingrich, in typical GOP style, is equating that three day tirade – and the ensuing protest and boycotting in its aftermath – with the one-liner from DeNiro.
But even with that, overblown and false equivalency-ridden as it is, I might have cut him some slack. But when he calls for the President to apologize for DeNiro, he loses touch with reality. If he wants someone to apologize, then it should be DeNiro, not the President. Ask DeNiro for the apology. Sure, it could be fair to ask the President to disavow himself of the statement, if you’re really that offended. But to apologize for DeNiro? Gimme a break.
No one has been asked to “apologize for” Limbaugh. The actions taken to contact his advertisers – and their choice to drop him – haven’t been directed to, nor requested of the GOP. Not that they would do it anyway. When asked about it, the best they can do is say “I wouldn’t have said that”. Instead, they have gone all-in trying to back Limbaugh and his misogynistic statements. Never mind he’s done it for years. But DeNiro makes one joke – and a mild one at that – and it’s suddenly the same level and requires an apology from the President on DeNiro’s behalf?
Here’s a simple idea: You don’t like DeNiro’s joke? Boycott his movies. Don’t buy DVDs that have him in them, and don’t patronize his restaurants. Write the distributors of his films and tell them you won’t see another of their films if it has DeNiro in it. Tell them you won’t spend a dime on their product unless they denounce what he said. That would be the straight-up answer to how Limbaugh has been handled. And good luck with that.
But bringing the President into this is just plain pandering to the base, and faux outrage from the GOP. Again.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the First Lady has already released a statement saying the joke was inappropriate. Chances that Gingrich will say that’s good enough? Zero. Chances he will even note that the statement was released. Next to zero.