Back-Story: Van Jones and Yosi Sargent, two of President Obama's advisors, recently resigned from their positions as head of the administration's Green Energy initiative and communications director of the National Endowment for the Arts, respectively, in the wake of attacks by Fox News hack Glenn Beck. Jones's sin was twofold: calling Republicans an indelicate body part and signing a petition requesting investigation into the government's possible foreknowledge of the attacks on 9/11. Sargent's crime was denying that he had invited artists to consult with the NEA on a government project when in fact he had, although Beck was most outraged by the collaboration of government and artists (see FDR's WPA), which he likened to the propaganda techniques of Nazi Germany. Both men remain in the administration but in diminished roles.
Rather than defending two talented public servants, the Obama administration allowed itself to be intimidated by Beck, who is nothing more than a rabid dog set loose by Rupert Murdoch to bark threats, vitriol, and insane historical analogies across the air waves in order to corrode rational public discourse and ultimately destroy the Obama presidency. In Jones's case, the Obama administration refused to make a case that public figures, like everyone else, do not always refer to their opponents in genteel terms and have the right to hold opinions that others consider offbeat. In Sargent's a minor mis-step such as denying his role in initiating the conference call was excusable; clearly it was the heat brought to bear on the NEA, which the right-wing has long used as a whipping-boy, that made Sargent's case politically uncomfortable.
Because the administration decided that going up against a guy who should be talking to himself on the subway is too politically risky, two talented political advisers have now been sidelined. It also reinforces beliefs among many of the President's supporters that he compromises his positions too quickly and, as with health care reform, his solutions are aimed more at soothing opponents than solving problems. The Bush administration was filled with appointees with far more damning comments on their resumes than anything said by Jones or Sargent, and it seems the Democrats still think that there is something to be gained by appeasing rather than confronting the political ugliness that Rupert Murdoch, Congressional Republicans, and the sizable lunatic fringe of the American right. In addition, Beck has now requested that his listeners dig up dirt on several other Obama appointees. In effect, Obama has emboldened Beck with the veto power over presidential appointees that is generally reserved for the Senate.
With such concerns in mind, the following totally fictional diversion is presented as a way of indicating the absurdity of giving in to the likes of Beck. (Contrary to the common practice on Fox News, the fictional aspect of this post is clearly labeled
Fictional Story: President Barack Obama resigned today in wake of the controversy caused by Glenn Beck's frenzied denunciations after Beck reported that the President had been overheard calling opponents of his health-care reform "nitwits". In addition, Beck received information that back in his community activist days, the President had once joked that "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", the mythical character from the South Side of Chicago in Jim Croce's classic song, should "kick some ass" in the Chicago City Council.
The White House immediately denied these claims, but on Wednesday, Beck foamed at the mouth and spoke in tongues while writhing on the floor of Fox News TV studios. Rather than defend himself, President Obama said he could not recall making those statements, although he believes Jim Croce was one of America's most talented singer-songwriters. He went on to say that he intended the term "nitwits" to be used in its "Indonesian sense," as "little fellows who annoy me but for whom I have the greatest respect."
On Thursday night, Beck called upon the President to resign, saying that Leroy Brown was just a thuggish blade-man from the very community that Obama had organized, and that unleashing Brown upon such a revered civil institution as Chicago's aldermen is exactly what Hitler would have done. "Undoubtedly," sneered Beck, "Brown, a notorious 'treetop lover', would receive health care at taxpayers' expense after his barroom fight with the jealous man who was Doris's husband." Not only that, Beck charged, but under Obama's "bolshevik health plan", Brown would be eligible for cosmetic reconstructive surgery to replace the pieces of the "jigsaw puzzle" of his body that were missing after his epic battle. As for Obama's explanation of the term "nitwit", Beck triumphantly chortled that this only proves that Obama was indeed not born in the United States, but in Indonesia, as only a native-born islander would have known to use "nitwit" so subtly.
At this point, the President issued the following statement: "It is with a sense of hope and change that I am resigning as President of the United States to work full time on the issues that face Alaska...I mean, our nation. I am not leaving because I want to avoid confronting the wrath of Beck, who is a nitwit -- in the Indonesian sense, of course. Rather, this administration has a great deal of work to do and rather than defend myself against a cheesy right-wing nut-job who is basically a yapping terrier let loose by his masters to snap at the heels of anyone who threatens their profits and ideology of power, rather than confront Mr. Beck, I think it best if I do not distract the American people from my agenda. I did say those things and rather than defend myself or my right to make those statements, I think it best to resign as President of the United States."
Vice President Joe Biden will assume the responsibilities of the Office of President. Wait! This just in! Glenn Beck is reporting that Mr. Biden once expressed doubts about the accuracy of Fox News's reporting! Beck called this a "Stalinist, Hitleresque, Maoist, Obama-like assault on freedom of the press" and accused Biden of "thought-crimes" against Rupert Murdoch, whom Beck called the "master of infinity". Beck is calling for President Biden's resignation as soon as he is sworn into office. Early reports from the White House indicate Mr. Biden will comply with Mr. Beck's request so as not to distract the American people from the fulfillment of the Democratic Party's agenda.