GOP congressman invites Obama rodeo clown to perform in Texas

This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013.
This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013.
Jameson Hsieh/AP

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman has invited the rodeo clown who impersonated President Obama at the Missouri State Fair this past weekend to perform at a rodeo in his home district.
The Republican congressman issued a statement Wednesday explaining why he wanted the rodeo clown to participate at a rodeo in Texas’ 36th District.
“Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in the press release. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers.”
“Disagreeing with speech is one thing. Banning it and ordering citizens into reeducation classes for mocking a liberal leader is another,” he continued in the release. “Liberals have targeted this man for personal destruction to create a climate of fear.”
Missouri State Fair organizers apologized after video emerged showing the rodeo clown donning an Obama mask at an event. Crowds were heard in the clip cheering as the announcer asked if they wanted to see him trampled by a bull. Organizers later banned the rodeo clown from ever participating in the Missouri State Fair again.

The act was condemned by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Sen. Claire McCaskill. The NAACP of Missouri called for an investigation.
“The activities at the Missouri State Fair targeting and inciting violence against our President are serious and warrant a full review by both the Secret Service and the Justice Department,” Mary Ratliff, President of the Missouri NAACP, said according to
Stockman called the performance in Missouri “a harmless gag.”
“The idea to create a state of fear and make people afraid to trivialize Obama. No one tried to personally destroy the rodeo clown who wore a George H.W. Bush mask,” he said.
Officials from the Houston Livestock and Rodeo say the Texas Republican never contacted them about inviting the rodeo clown. The vice president of the organization told Politico that Stockman “has no authority to invite any person to perform at our show.”
This is not the only time Stockman’s aligned himself with a controversial Obama critic either. He notoriously invited aging rocker Ted Nugent to be his plus-one at the 2013 State of the Union. Stockman has been one of President Obama’s strongest critics in recent years, threatening to impeach him this past January.
Stockman is not alone in his criticism of the so-called “liberal” reaction to the event either. On Wednesday’s radio show, Rush Limbaugh accused the president of being unable to laugh at himself over the incident. Fox News host Sean Hannity used Tuesday’s program to harp on the backlash as well, accusing the “left wing” of having “a double standard when ti comes to presidential parodies.”
Peggy Noonan gave her own advice for the president in a Wall Street Journal column published on Tuesday.

Let me suggest a classy Obama move that might go over well. From his Vineyard vacation spot he should have the press office issue a release saying his reaction to finding out a rodeo clown was rudely spoofing him, was, “So what?” Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy, and hopes those politicians (unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly) damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and relax. This would be graceful and nice, wouldn’t it? He would never do it. He gives every sign of being a person who really believes he shouldn’t be made fun of, and if he is it’s probably racially toned, because why else would you make fun of him?

When asked about the incident at Wednesday’s White House briefing, Deputy Press Secretary John Earnest said he doesn’t know of any reaction from the president.
“I have not talked to my colleagues in the White House about this, and I haven’t heard about the President’s reaction or if he had one,” he said. “I can tell you as a native Missourian it’s certainly not one of the finer moments for our state, and not the way that I like to see our state mentioned in the news.”