Eight years ago, during a star-studded telethon to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West looked into the camera and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." It was a little unfair—nothing in Bush's public life suggested any animus toward black people, and you could make a stronger case that it was poor people Bush didn't care about; the ones in New Orleans just happened to be black. We couldn't help thinking of that today after learning about the latest controversial statement from Maine's buffoonish Tea Party governor, Paul LePage.
According to the Portland Press-Herald, LePage told the crowd at a Republican fundraiser that "Obama could have been the best president ever if he had highlighted his biracial heritage. LePage said the president hasn't done that because he hates white people." The paper quoted two Republican lawmakers who confirmed LePage's statement, both of whom asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. LePage denies having said it, but it wouldn't be out of character; while campaigning in 2010, he told an audience, "As your governor, you're gonna be seeing a lot of me on the front page saying 'Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.'"
Remember how last year Obama predicted that if he got re-elected, "the fever may break" and Republicans would start acting more reasonable? It didn't hurt to hope, but nearly five years after he was first elected, we're still dealing with important Republicans—high-ranking elected officials, powerful media figures, not to mention the rank and file—whose contempt for Obama is seemingly without end.
But we're sure it'll be much better if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee in three years. Right?
SO THEY SAY
"While in elected office, I had to deal with the things I was doing that annoyed other people. Now, I get to talk about things that others do that annoy me."
—Barney Frank, talking about House of Cards
DAILY MEME: PRESIDENTIAL PUPPIES
- There is a new puppy at the White House! Everyone say "awhhhhh," and then let us praise famous hens—like Teddy Roosevelt's, Baron Speckle—and other presidential pets past.
- There has been many a bird in the White House, from Andrew Jackson's parrot—who may have been ejected from Old Hickory's funeral for swearing—to John Tyler's canary, Johnny Ty, who was perhaps the first bird to have a same-sex marriage in D.C.
- Calvin Coolidge had two lion cubs, Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau.
- Martin Van Buren was given two tiger cubs by the Sultan of Oman. The president wanted to keep them, but Congress insisted the cute kitties belonged to the people. They eventually ended up at the National Zoo.
- Teddy Roosevelt's family basically had their own zoo at the White House, what with John Edwards, the bear (named such "partly because they thought they detected Calvinistic traits in the bear's character" ), Father O'Grady, the guinea pig, a one-eyed rooster, and Emily Spinach, the garter snake who died under mysterious circumstances in Bar Harbor.
- Pauline Wayne, William Howard Taft's cow—the last cow to ever live at the White House—has her own Wikipedia page.
- Benjamin Harrison had a couple opossums, named, wait for it, Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.
- Twenty-five presidents have owned dogs, but our first president's coonhounds probably had the best names: Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy.
- But what does the new addition to the Obama household mean? Apparently, studies have been conducted about the political effects of presidential pets: “We surmise that diversionary pets are a political liability when their frolicking on the White House lawn in hard times might cue the public that not everyone in the country is suffering equally and that being president is not a full-time job."
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- Jamelle Bouie writes about the laws that are taking voting rights away from felons—for life.
- Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux looks at the new D.C. medical marijuana dispensaries, which are facing some hellish red tape.
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Ezra Klein explains why Obamacare is aces for young'uns.
- The New Republic talks to Jill Abramson, executive editor at The New York Times.
- David Remnick unpacks the increasingly dire politics governing Egypt.
- Clive Thompson explains how to keep the NSA out of your computer.
- If you live in one of these 20 cities, you're screwed when it comes to climate change and sea levels.
- The sequester is now killing bunnies.
POLL OF THE DAY
Ohio elections could be exciting in 2014, according to new polling from Public Policy Polling. Current governor John Kasich's approval ratings are not looking too hot. The Republican secretary of state and treasurer have even more dismal ratings. Their challengers might be unknowns to voters this early in the game, but if they're already causing toss-up races in the polls, things could get interesting.