I wasn't sure why President Obama calling Kanye West a "jackass" in what was meant to be an off-the-record exchange with ABC News was, well news, but I'm starting to get the idea. Even yesterday, prior to Obama's comments, the incident at the MTV Music Video Awards in which West rudely interrupted Taylor Swift during her awards speech had, for some reason, gotten traction in the right blogosphere, with bloggers drawing implicit comparisons to Henry Louis Gates being arrested on his front porch by Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley.
Let's just ponder for a moment that, at some level, people on the right think that West interrupting Swift in some way analogous to a man being arrested on his own front porch for being rude to a police officer -- the similarity being that, for the right, in both cases white people are the targets of racial victimization on the part of blacks. Also bizarre is the right's apparent shock that Obama actually criticized West -- as though the president simply sides automatically with the black person in a given dispute. This expectation of knee-jerk tribalism from conservatives on behalf of Obama actually says less about the President than it does about them.
At any rate, since the exchange was meant to be off the record, we can put the rest the equally silly hypothesis sure to develop in some circles that Obama's comments about West were a clever political ploy to reassure white voters.
-- A. Serwer