by Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish
Allow me a final word about the incivility that has become all too common in our political discourse. This week’s poster boy is Hank Williams Jr. who with regard to the president golfing with the speaker of the house made some inane analogy to Hitler and Netanyahu. I think we all know who, in Williams’ mind, was supposed to be the Hitler figure.
Yesterday, while reading about Hank Williams Jr, I let my eye wander in search of other stories then in the news that could have provided for legitimate criticism of the White House. There were plenty.
Hank could have talked about emails just released showing that the Administration overlooked written concerns about Solyndra, the solar equipment manufacturer that was the beneficiary of a $528 million loan and is now in bankruptcy. They show that the White House was so anxious to orchestrate a presidential visit that caution was thrown to the wind.
Speaking of emails, another batch shows that Senior Justice Department officials were aware that ATF agents allowed firearms to be “walked” into Mexico as part of the Fast and Furious program, which ultimately lost track of more than 2,000 weapons.
Third, he could have raised constitutional questions about the killing of an American terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki.
Fourth, he could have highlighted a report that Pakistani military units have traded fire with American and Afghan government troops along the Afghanistan border several times over the past year, and asked why we continue to send billions to the Pakistanis?
And surely he could have found fault in some aspect of the president’s $447 billion American Jobs Act.
My point is that there is plenty of room for legitimate debate about the direction of the country but substance doesn’t have the pull of salaciousness. What sells? Openly wishing for the president to fail. Saying he has a deep-seeded hatred of white people. Or now, a misguided Hitler reference.
What always amazes me is when these cheap shots are offered by observers anxious to proclaim their own patriotism. No.
You can’t have it both ways. There is nothing patriotic about calling the Commander-in-Chief the enemy, which Williams also did. Whether the occupier of the oval office is George W. Bush or Barack Obama, that sort of commentary is un-American.
Yesterday, Hank sort-of apologized. He said he was “very sorry if it offended anyone.” Then added, “this was not written by some publicist.” We know Hank, because a professional would have told you to take out the qualifier “if”. If you offended? Clearly you did and for good reason.