Obama Makes Nice with Cambridge Cop
President Obama and Cambridge, Mass., police officer James Crowley have buried the hatchet — thankfully, not in each other’s skulls. In a special press briefing today, Obama announced that he had spoken to Sgt. Crowley by phone and made peace with the embattled cop.
Without going as far as to apologize for saying that Cambridge police “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard eminento Henry Louis Gates, Jr., President Obama manfully ‘fessed up to escalating the brouhaha over Gates’s arrest.
“Because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute to ratcheting it up,” Obama admitted to the press, “I wanted to make clear in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could have calibrated those words differently And I told this to Sgt. Crowley.”
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. In their phone conversation, Sgt. Crowley suggested that Obama invite him and Prof. Gates to the White House to share a few beers. Obama relayed the invitation to Gates, though we weren’t privy to the aggrieved scholar’s response, assuming it was fit to print.
It’s unlikely that the three pals will end up swaying side-by-side and singing “Kumbaya,” but I have to admit that the talk of a reconciliation gladdens my heart. Unlike a lot of politicians (his predecessor, in particular), Obama is sufficiently secure, reasonable and generous to admit mistakes and change course when a change is warranted.
No doubt he’ll be catching flack from both sides now: from the lefties who will chide him for knuckling under to popular sentiment… and from the right-wingers who probably suspect that his contrition today was a crass act of damage control.
Obama will survive the ordeal. Getting slammed from both sides is, for better or worse, the mark of an independent mind. We moderates can feel his pain, and this moderate applauds him for having the courage to think like one of us.