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"We’re gonna need a bigger bus ..."
Posted by: MichaelW on Sunday, July 13, 2008

At what point do Obama's choices as to who he surrounds himself with become a debilitating factor in this race? The latest supporter summarily tossed under the Obama Express is Bernie Mac:
Comedian Bernie Mac got a little too cute when he warmed up the crowd at a Barack Obama fund-raiser in Chicago Friday night.

Obama's campaign staff attached this preface to the "pool report" filed by the Los Angeles Times reporter allowed to cover the fund-raiser: "Senator Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate."


Mac ended his irreverent riff with a joke involving the women in the families and living with two "hos."
Mac had many more bawdy comments, which frankly should have been expected. Of course, Mac should have known better than to deliver his comedy routine that's usually reserved for adult venues. Did he really think that his comments were appropriate for the hustings?

But where was Obama's campaign staff on this? Why didn't they vet and approve Mac's routine beforehand? Instead, Mac delivers a funny comedy act, yet one ill-suited for a campaign event, forcing Obama to rebuke him afterwards:
Obama ended his speech by saying, "We can't afford to be divided by religion, or by region or class. Or by gender."

Then, pausing for effect, he added: "That means, by the way, Bernie, you got to clean up your act. This is a family affair. . . . I'm just messing with you, man."
As Ed Morrissey points out, you can't fault Obama for the rebuke:
On one hand, it’s hard to blame the campaign for tossing Bernie under the bus for this. Jokes about “hoes” aren’t exactly the best way to reach out to disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters, especially given their resentment over how Obama treated Hillary and his supposedly demeaning attitude towards women in general. Also, Obama has already gone on record with his criticism of the rap/hip-hop industry for using terms like “hoes” and worse
What they should be criticized for is having Mac there at all. It just seems that again and again Obama chooses to surround himself with people who are well out of mainstream (even on the left), overtly anti-American, inappropriate for the event at hand, or just poor representatives of his campaign in general. Don't these poor choices say something about Obama's ability as a leader? Don't they raise grave questions about what, for example, his cabinet would look like?

Apparently his ardent supporters are still so blinded by the Light that they think these sorts of incidents are just being blown out of proportion:
This is potentially game changing. Who would ever have expected such stuff from Bernie Mac? At any rate I don't see how Obama can possibly win in November in the aftermath of this catastrophe.
The problem, of course, is that Obama should have expected that from Mac, and he should have done something about it before Mac's "speech." Ann Althouse highlights the fatal flaw in Firedoglake logic:
Oops. You stepped in it. If such talk from Mac was completely predictable, then the Obama campaign is responsible for it. Once again, I've got to say: With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Except that these sorts of incidents are not used to question Obama's leadership abilities, but to whine about how he's treated so unfairly. Instead of questioning how such a talented individual can repeatedly make poor choices in campaign spokespersons, Obama weakly scolds Mac and his true blue supporters shove their heads even further under the sand. These are the hallmarks of a leader?

I don't think so.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

We need to examine Obama’s decision making process here. Let’s be honest; This is not Mac’s fault; He is, as would be the other cases I mention, simply doing what he got famous for, and his fame was why Obama invited him.... he was hoping some of that fame would rub off on him. Well, it did... and now Obama’s tossing him under the bus. But wouldn’t you expect someone aspiring to be POTUS to exhibit better decision making ability? If this business shows us he ability of Obama and his staff to vet perspectives, what does this say about the people who would be serving in a hypothetical Obama administration?
Written By: Bithead
IMO, he could have taken a different tack here and just said, "the dude’s a comic what do you expect? policy papers?"

Meanwhile McCain is not a comic and his smoking Iranians joke...ennnnnh, not so good either.

I do think the main thing here is that according to some people Obama being elected will magically transform black youth, who now with a proper role model, will avoid such things as considering women hoes. (seen this meme on Just One Minute by a commenter with lots of numbers in their name) Uhhhh, looks like Obama is keeping it real.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://

Quite. Let’s examine that.

Generally speaking, when a politician tries to associate himself with a entertainment or sports celeb, it’s done in general, because the celeb is more popular among the target audience than the the pol is. And certainly, this is true of Bernie Mac and Barack Obama. Obama was clearly hoping some of the fame would rub off on him. Now it has, and he’s embarrassed?

You’re right; Mac performed exactly as any reasonable person would have expected him to perform; like, as I said elsewhere this morning, like Nixon inviting JIm Morrison’s Doors to a command performance at the White House,Or Bill Clinton inviting Snoop Doggie-Dog.

Mike is correct, too, in that the vet process seems to be wanting, though to be fair about it there seems a dearth of celebs on the left end of the spectrum who are as pure on such matters as Obama would like himself perceived. And isn’t that interesting? Because, when you break it down, what you end up with is a major cultural rift between Obama and the people he’s asking for votes from. The popularity of the people like Mac is exactly because people like Mac are like his fans. They identify with him, and his like. So in reality, Obama is asking for votes from people he’s embarrassed to be around.

Clearly, Obama wants the good effects of the fame... not the bad. Trouble is, it’s like the Prometheus effect; You can’t separate the two; they’re a package. In a larger sense, I view this as being of a piece with Insisting on gasoline lower prices without allowing for production of the product in question. That’s kinda like insisting we should lower our dependence on foreign oil while not allowing us to do what’s needed to obtain it domestically. That’s like saying we need more jobs, but then taxing the life out of entities that you’re asking to provide those jobs. And so on. There seems to me something of a mindset there that needs closer examination. Certainly, a hole in his (And all liberals) decision making process, if nothing else.

Written By: Bithead
This was a Sister Souljah moment for Obama: he condemned a behavior than was easy to condemn. It’s like being on the record against dry rot.

The sad thing is, Obama ended his "criticism" by saying, "I’m just messing with you." He didn’t really mean it.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Has he ever meant anything he’s ever said in his entire life?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Has he ever meant anything he’s ever said in his entire life?
Yeah- "I want to be President"

That’s about it.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Who would ever have expected such stuff from Bernie Mac?"

Uh, how about anyone who has ever seen or heard a night-club comedian doing their standard act? Particularly one who appears on ’Def Comedy Jam’. Of course Bernie is not alone in his vulgarity. I heard a bit of Don Imus’s schtick at a Gridiron Club once, and he was just as vulgar and inappropriate. Comedians do not get famous and rich by working for Disney or on Sesame Street. It is an unusual comic whose act is not filled with obscenity and vulgarity. They do major surgery on their routines when they appear on Jay Leno, etc. Evidently Bernie Mac thought that audience was sophisticated enough to appreciate his standard routine.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Funny thing about Imus. Didn’t Bush catch a bit of hell for inviting the man?

Written By: Bithead

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