Email exchange: disrespecting the presidency

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I received this email about remarks made at a recent Kerry fundraiser (13 July 2004, 2:19 PM):

The Kerry campaign hosted a fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall at which Sen. Kerry said, "Every performer tonight in their own way either verbally through their music through their lyrics have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."

Is it right to call the President a "thug" and a "killer" ? Do these people represent the "heart and soul" of our nation? Whatever our citizenry's political differences, it is wrong to disrespect the office of the Presidency in that way, and it gives comfort to the enemy. The Bush people want a tape of the event released....the Kerry people are hemming and hawing....saying it might violate copyright laws or something...yeah, right.

I would have had some respect for Kerry if he made his displeasure known to people who felt it appropriate to show a lack of respect for the office of the Presidency by calling Pres Bush a part of the female anatomy...(Whoopi Goldberg) And frankly, I think the American people are smarter than Kerry gives them credit for. I, for one, don't give a damn what Dave Matthews or Jon Bon Jovi think (I like their music though and Bon Jovi is hot-yummy!)

Just my thoughts. Have a great day.

My response was this (13 July 13 2004, 3:27 PM):

I agree with you about respect for the Presidency, but I haven't seen any footage from the RCMH event. (I did verify the Kerry quote from CNN, and was disappointed at his problems with subject-verb agreement.) Is it right to call the President a "thug" and a "killer?" It is if you can back it up, but a fundraiser isn't exactly a court of law.

Was the fundraiser televised? What contracts did the performers sign? Does the DNC own the broadcast rights? Concern over copyright is probably a dodge on the part of Kerry's campaign, but it could be a legal issue nonetheless. (I think the copyright/patent/trademark system needs to be reformed - although I wish the word "reformed" hadn't been turned into a synonym for "eviscerated" - to better protect consumers' fair-use rights, but that's a separate issue.)

Again, the outrage is applied very selectively. Has everyone forgotten Dan "Scumbag" Burton, and the lack of GOP outrage over disrespecting the office while Clinton held it? (As if Clinton didn't do enough damage on his own...) I'd love to see George "Major-League Asshole" Bush and Dick "Fuck Yourself" Cheney take a stand on declining standards of civility in political campaigns, but I just don't think that will happen. (Not that John "These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen" Kerry has much credibility on the issue, but at least he didn't resort to obscenities.)

Don't even pull the "comfort to the enemy" phrase into the discussion if you're trying to imply that disrespect for the Presidency somehow equates to the Constitutional definition of treason. That's a favorite tactic of Ann Coulter, and I had expected better from you. (See the quote below...)

Despite the American citizenry being smarter than either party would like to believe, it is indeed shaping up to be an ugly campaign. We'll find out in November who actually represents the "heart and soul" of our nation, but I doubt that politeness will matter very much.

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Theodore Roosevelt, "Lincoln and Free Speech"

I received a reply (13 July 2004, 3:43 PM):

Let's agree to disagree...I will say one thing...the "Major League Asshole" and "Fuck Yourself" comments were indeed inappropriate as well, though neither was uttered in a public forum.....that's the difference....and I will try to not be offended by your "I expected better from you" remark. I have never implied that disrespect was treason. I agree with you about Burton, but I might add, that Clinton himself was the biggest example of "disrespecting the office" with his own personal "humidor" behavior. You vote for Kerry. I'll vote for Bush and we'll cancel each other out. God Bless America. Talk to you soon.

This is my final response (13 July 2004, 4:05 PM):

As far as agreeing to disagree: Bush's "major-league asshole" comment was made onstage at a fundraiser, and Cheney's "fuck yourself" remark was on the Senate floor - both of which are public.

Since you disavowed the "treason" implication, I will gladly retract the inference. Please accept my apology.

Who ever said that I was going to vote for Kerry? I talk freely about politics, but even my spouse doesn't know whom I vote for. (It's still a secret ballot, after all.)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 13, 2004 4:05 PM.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is a flawed film that MUST be seen was the previous entry in this blog.

George Will's "Questions for Kerry" is the next entry in this blog.

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