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Obama Makes Nice with Cambridge Cop

July 24, 2009

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.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Priscilla permalink
    July 25, 2009 12:11 am

    Eh, I’m having my doubts about the ‘secure, reasonable and generous’ aspect of Obama, based on this incident. Both he and Gates strike me as positively nostalgic for the kind of racism that made it ok for someone like Gates (you know, a highly paid, celebrated Harvard prof, friend of the leader of the free world, for god’s sake) to use the phrase “This is what happens to a black man in America”, and mean it in a victim sense……….not encouraging.

    But I love your posts – great stuff.

  2. July 25, 2009 8:33 am

    Priscilla: Oh, don’t get me wrong; I agree that Gates is “positively nostalgic” (good choice of words!) for the old-time religion of black victimization. (He makes a nice living from it, after all.) Obama, not so much. Yes, his first instinct was to close ranks, but that was probably simple conditioning — as well as the need to defend a friend.

    It did bother me that Obama tied the case to racial profiling. But I was impressed by his quick reversal and his willingness to concede that everyone overreacted — including himself. Sure, his staff might have advised him to do a little damage control. But Obama seems to be more magnanimous and evenhanded than the black ideologues on the left. I think he “gets” it.

    Anyway, glad you’re enjoying the site. I’m enjoying it myself. (Now, if only I could make a living from it…)

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