Holy Smokes Update (aka, still astonishing but now for different reasons)
If you just watched the Cambridge police union* press conference, I’m pretty sure you heard the spokesman claim there was no influence of the bad history between cops and black people in Cambridge. At least, that’s what I think I heard; we’ll have to wait for a transcript. Stand by.
… So far, very little, but already sounds pretty bad. I stick by my original prediction.
Police unions call for apology from Obama, Patrick
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Cambridge police unions today called on President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick to apologize to “all law enforcement personnel” for their comments about the arrest of an African-American scholar last week at his home near Harvard Square.
Speaking in at a press conference packed with local and national media, the union officials also said that the disorderly conduct charge should not have been dropped against professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The move earlier this week to drop the charges “was a decision made without our input.”
… already clear that a lot of people need to watch Jay Smooth again.
As Jay Smooth says, “I don’t care what you are, I care about what you did.” The President did not say “Cambridge police are stupid”, nor did he say “Officer Crowley is stupid”. He said, “Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof he was in own home.” (As my colleague Professor Kelman points out, quite possibly, as a constitutional law professor he has an informed opinion on what police behavior is stupid and what isn’t.) But it’s clear that the discourse is already spinning out of control.
So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about — my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don’t know if that’s scheduled yet — (laughter) — but we may put that together.
He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass.
… which, it appears, means the President has proven my original prediction incorrect. But if you’re gonna be wrong, you might as well be wrong in the most wonderful, rainbow-colored ponylicious way. It’s not as big a pony as passing healthcare, ending the war ‘n’ stuff, closing Gitmo and Bagram, and returning to the rule of law, but you gotta start somewhere. Even small ponies have been scarce as of even date.
*See Ralph’s request for clarification below.