President Barack Obama waited too long to exhibit significant concern about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill — and when he did, he resorted to vulgarity that set a poor example.
In an interview for NBC’s "Today" show, Obama said he’s been talking with people who live and work on the Gulf of Mexico about the oil spill "so I know whose a-- to kick."
He was answering host Matt Lauer’s suggestion that the president needed to "kick some butt." But Obama chose how to respond, and unlike Lauer he used language considered profanity in polite circles and unbefitting a president of the United States in a public forum.
In the scheme of things, that may not appear to be such a big deal. But when lines are crossed, especially at the level of a White House, they tend to get erased. Today, we have one former curse word that has been implied as acceptable in daily conversation, and on a national morning show, by the president. And that has a corrosive, eroding effect on the culture.
"It sounds like he was using this (verbiage) to prove that he’s mad, and I think that’s silly," said CNBC host Becky Quick, saying it was not the time and place for such language.
Quick is right. A president, of all people, should respect his role in setting examples for young people, and for guarding against the increasing coarseness of our culture and society. ...
Obama’s profane and juvenile machismo is clearly a calculated yet clumsy attempt to appear engaged.
Mr. President, the country needs leadership, not adolescent bravado.