THE VICTIM TRAIN.

Dee Dee Myers has a pity kegger over the humiliating picture of Jon Favreau groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton:

Imagine how different the reaction would be if an important aide to John McCain had been caught in similar picture featuring Michelle Obama? Or if the picture had shown a cutout of Barack Obama and, say, a white hood? Why is it when ideology and race are eliminated, so is the outrage?

I’m not sure what the appropriate punishment should be for Jon Favreau, but I know it should be more than a groveling phone call to Senator Clinton. At a minimum, President-Elect Obama should take Favreau on his first—and, hopefully, his last—very public trip to the woodshed.

This is a picture of Favreau, probably drunk, acting a fool at a gathering of his friends. Has Myers ever laughed at a racist joke? A sexist joke? Watched the movie Blazing Saddles? Enjoyed the comedy stylings of Eddie Murphy or Richard Pryor? Did something she regretted after having one drink too many? I know I have. In fact I don't know anyone who hasn't. Myers is proposing a level of scrutiny -- that private jokes between friends should be evaluated as professional conduct -- that no one in public life would survive. For the most part, liberals have spent the last ten years arguing that people's private lives are just that -- in large part because of the behavior of a former president that Myers used to work for. In going after Jon Favreau, Myers has essentially laid out the argument for impeaching Bill Clinton.

But say that Favreau had been caught in a picture making a racist joke about Obama rather than a sexist joke about Hillary Clinton. In all likelihood, Obama would have either got angry, or laughed it off, but I doubt Favreau would have been fired, because Obama really hasn't shown a tendency to react particularly emotionally to racial slights. If he had, he wouldn't be where he is.

--A. Serwer

This post has been edited from its original version.

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