I sometimes, because I am a nice guy, offer my advice to the White House about grave communications mistakes it is making. I’ve sat in the White House briefing room for 14 years now, and I know what I’m talking about.
The decision to keep the cop-hating rapper Common on the roster for tonight’s White House poetry and prose reading is a gross error. The politics of this will boomerang right back at you and smack you in the face. This issue has great resonance around the country. People don’t like cop killing, it turns out. I was just on a radio talk program, the Cari and Rob Show, where one of the hosts said the phone boards had never in the history of his program lit up like they are on this issue.
First of all, here’s White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s response on the Common issue. I got into with him after he batted away a few friendlier questions. My part starts at 3:10 on the video.
Well, it’s not just a few things Common said. He seems to have a thing about killing police.
Common has written one “poem” in which he talks about carrying weapons to use against police warning, “They watching me, I’m watching them.”
He has written material lauding Assata Shakur, a Black Panther who was involved in a shootout that killed a New Jersey state trooper. After escaping from jail, she now lives in Cuba. He named his daughter after her.
And he has lauded Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer.
And what’s more, Common has spoken out against mixed marriage – something you would think would get the attention of President Obama. He has made anti-gay remarks and suggested he’d like to “burn a Bush,” a double entendre, the awful half of which appears to suggest killing George W. Bush.
This guy, to quote one of my favorite Yiddish terms, is Meshuggah. One hundred percent.
The president has just made huge progress in the last two weeks getting some tough guy and law and order credentials. He took out Bin Laden, appeared with the police and the firemen at Ground Zero, and claimed to be controlling the Mexican border.
White House, you are about to reverse all this. I’ve rarely seen such a big PR mistake.
I’m thinking Common wasn’t vetted properly.
But on the other hand, Common is a product of Jeremiah Wright’s church. You can take the Obama’s our of Wright’s church, but perhaps you can’t take Wright’s church out of the Obamas. That is, it’s quite likely he was vetted just fine, and nobody thought there was much wrong with all this.
Go to Mr. Common, tell him he’s out of the lineup, and then have him say it was his decision, because he loves children, or whatever.
Otherwise, incur the political consequences – and they will not be pretty – you so richly deserve for this.