I guess that's as close as I can get to calling Frank Rich a crackhead before the New York Times legal department shoots me an email, but I don't know what else to say except to call a spade a spade when I see one.
I actually scanned his op-ed column yesterday, titled "Tiger Woods, Person of the Year", but I obviously didn't read all the way to the end. It was a tweet by Harry Allen this morning I read right after firing up my computer that had me singeing the hair in my nostrils.
harryallen Frank Rich: Many suspect "that Obama’s brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image...." http://twurl.nl/zfl46r
When I clicked on the link to get to the article, I remembered why I didn't read to the end of it in the first place - it was one of those pieces based on some sort of tortured logic that meandered all over the place in order to make a predetermined statement, the kind of thing everybody who writes for public consumption does from time to time when their writing mojo just isn't doing it. That I can understand. And I know how tempting it is as a writer to want to through a Tiger Woods metaphor into everything you write right now because that story is the hottest thing going these days.
But to equate the most transparent presidency in recent history to Tiger's hubby by day, playboy by night existence is something only a crackhead would think is a valid comparison.
Somebody out there who is reading this needs to loan Mr. Rich your complete collection of Sidney Poitier movies. Ship them to him FedEx so he can watch them over the holiday weekend. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere between viewing the fifth or sixth one, about the time he gets to "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", Mr. Rich will begin to recognize that the constraints under which President Obama is laboring are the shackles on the minds of that group of white Americans who are still suspicious of the motivations of brown-skinned people in positions of real power.
This is the audience Obama plays in front of, not some half drunk phalanx of oglers who are willing to pay premium dollars to watch a brown-skinned phenom hit a white ball with a stick better than they could ever dream of doing. The media coverage of Barack Obama is as intense EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK as it was on Daisy Bates back in Arkansas when half the damn state came to stare at a little black girl on her way to her first day at school, a segregated school, I might add, that her parents had been paying taxes for years to support.
Obama could print money with Confederate flags on it, decree that illegal immigrants had to work for free, and abolish the tort system, and the conservatives still wouldn't be happy. He could champion same sex marriage and kick in a foreclosed house for every newly wed couple as a wedding gift, make doctors accept goods and services in lieu of cash for fees, and demolish every smokestack in the country and the liberals wouldn't be happy. That otherness would still be in the way, even though well-educated black men run industry giants like American Express and Symantec so well nobody even knows they are there.
So somebody somewhere, please send Mr. Rich that collection of Sidney Poitier DVD's so he can see that what we've really got is a 2009 president teeing up 2009 type problems in front of a crowd of onlookers, including many in the press, who are still struggling with the vestiges of their 1969 mindsets.
That, Mr. Rich, is about the only damn thing Barack Obama has in common with Tiger Woods.