When I heard that the president of the United States called someone a "jackass," I cheered. This is exactly the kind of human, non-Spock-like outburst Obama needs to do much more of to better connect with the vast majority of the American people.
Sure, everyone in the world, even Kanye himself, would call him a jackass for this:
But what the president's natural outburst shows is that sometimes you don't have to split the difference and find common ground with lunatics, the underinformed, or crooks.
Sometimes, maybe even often, you have to call them a jackass.
Sure, it's un-presidential but that's why you have surrogates. Have Rahm or Axelrod do it for you but make it clear that that's what you said behind closed doors. Congressman Joe Wilson calls you a liar on national TV and, sure, you play it down a bit on 60 Minutes, but you leak that privately you called him worse than a jackass and now the clearly racist, disrespectful sonofabitch is dead to you. What would LBJ or Truman have done? As Quentin Tarantino might say, "They would've gotten black on his ass."
Conciliation only gets you so far.
On health care for example, conciliation got some concessions from Big Pharma and the Insurance lobby yet at the same time they keep pumping millions into crippling those same reforms. If there is no consequence to that treachery then every other industry from Wall Street on down will know how to cheat to win.
The money changers are in the temple. It's time for even the most peaceful and conciliatory leader to throw them out on their ears.
The first step is to call them a bunch of jackasses.