June 2, 2006

"How do I phrase this diplomatically?"

New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi introduced Senator Schumer this way:
"The man who, how do I phrase this diplomatically, who will put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it. The toughest senator, the best representative. A great, great member of the Congress of the United States."
He has since apologized.
"I do speak extemporaneously," he said. "And I've never said anything like this."
I'll bet. But anyway, thanks for apologizing.

33 comments:

Wickedpinto said...

That joke is SO! 1963.

knoxgirl said...

at the Queens College commencement, no less.

classy.

yetanotherjohn said...

Perhaps this will give pause to the left on the culture of attack rhetoric over logical argument...nahh.

Dave said...

Isn't that statement tantamount to an implicit threat on the President's life?

And, it seems to me that threatening to kill the President is one of those things, like yelling "Fire!" in a theater that is explicitly not protected by the First Amendment.

Clearly, the Secret Service should arrest and incarcerate Hevesi.

Sloanasaurus said...

Who will the democrats hate when Bush is gone? I am hoping for the terrorists, but my hopes are probably futile.

Henry said...

Zing!

John Thacker said...

I have to think that that's worse than Sen. Helms's "President Clinton had better make sure to bring his bodyguards when he comes to NC, as he's not too popular with some folks down here" comment. Perhaps opinions will differ.

Der Hahn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Der Hahn said...

Wow..

I figured Jauq Strap would be the first one to post a 'Rethuglicans said worse about Clinton!!!!!!!!' comment.

Simon said...

Once upon a time, most folks who were anti-war were pacifists. No longer, apparently.

In any event, I think it's mistaken to heap scorn on Hevesi. Did he lie? I really doubt it. Schumer strikes me as the most genuinely contemptible, meretricious man in the Senate today - and those who know how I feel about Joe Biden know that that says a lot. He is a walking argument for giving the §9 prohibition on bills of attainder the kind of broad construction he wants to give the rest of Art. I; with Jeff Sessions, he is the only Senator who makes me actually yell invective at the television.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how Sen. Schumer reacted to this introduction? Kinda rude to introduce someone with comments that will overshadow whatever the speaker is going to say!

rhhardin said...

It's a figure of speech. He realized he couldn't win in the media for the same reason nobody wins in the media, so cut his losses.

You can, however, make your case in blogs, which is the reason to prefer them to the mainstream media soap opera.

monkeyboy said...

Despite my feelings on the comment, I will say that it is refreshing to see a politician apologize without the mealy-mouth "I'm sorry if anyone was offended."

So is he the next Steven Colbert?

Bruce Hayden said...

In answer to the question about who to hate next after Bush leaves office in 2 1/2 years, it could be the next president. Romney is getting a lot of buzz right now. He is the governor of one of the bluest of states, is awfully smart (MBA and JD from Harvard), articulate, good looking, etc. - in short, the perfect candidate from central casting, except for one small, small, problem - he is Mormon, with all that entails.

I would think that the libs would have a hard time hating someone like Dr. Rice, or, maybe even Sen. McCain at the same level of intensity as reserved for Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and now, Gonzales. But someone like Gov. Romney? Easy.

dadmanly said...

Hard to know who is more pathetic, Hevesi, or the man who he imagines thinks that way.

Senator Schumer may never dare to utter such thoughts, but I'd be willing to bet Hevesi's observation was accurate.

(Sigh. From a constituent.)

Thom said...

Being a Mormon myself, I have to admit to being curious as to what "all that entails" means. Probably something fairly accurate (pro-life, conservative, etc.), but it's always interesting to see how we're perceived, especially when the writer is listing Romney's religion as another reason for him to be hated. :-)

Peg C. said...

The things that come out of liberals' mouths before the apology are what they really mean. Always.

Simon said...

Bruce:"I would think that the libs would have a hard time hating someone like Dr. Rice"

Oh, I disagree. Ask Clarence Thomas sometime about whether the liberals have a hard time hating a succesfull african-american who rejects the critical race studies leftist orthodoxy.

Simon said...

"Being a Mormon myself, I have to admit to being curious as to what "all that entails" means."

I have to assume it means that Romney is doomed because the extreme left look at all religion with contempt, and the religious right look on heresy with pity and contempt.

I am currently acting on the presumption that Romney will run, and I'm looking forward to a very interesting primary season. Romney is (and should be) a leading contender. However, to paraphrase Thomas Brackett Reed, I think they could do worse, and I think they probably will.

Ann Althouse said...

John Thacker said..."I have to think that that's worse than Sen. Helms's "President Clinton had better make sure to bring his bodyguards when he comes to NC, as he's not too popular with some folks down here" comment. Perhaps opinions will differ."

Helms's statement is much worse, and not just because Helms was a higher level official. It's worse because it plants an idea in people's head and might precipitate an actual attack.

Meanwhile, it's Schumer who ought to be angriest about what Hevesi said, because it's saying he's not only a murderous bastard, but also a big pussy. Bush has nothing to fear because Schumer only does what he knows he can get away with.

PatCA said...

Every day I'm struck by the similarities between today's political climate and that of the Civil War. And I think many on the left covertly hope for an end to Bush like Lincoln's. I have seen this idea expressed on bumper stickers, posters, and t-shirts on campus--it doesn't surprise me at all this guy is a former professor.

He meant what he said.

Mike said...

By your acquaintances, shall ye be known.

MadisonMan said...

The things that come out of liberals' mouths before the apology are what they really mean. Always.

Why qualify the word mouths with liberals'? Your statement is true in general -- especially of politicians.

Bongo Journalist said...

Hmmm, calling Schumer a big pussy gives sissies a bad name.

Der Hahn said...

Ann,

Helm's comment was bad but I don't see it as worse than Hevesi's.

'Better bring bodyguards' could be read (charitably) as indicating an enthusiastically unfriendly but not lethal welcome.

If willingness to do bodily harm to the President is considered high praise in certain circles, isn't that also an inducement to violence?

Joseph Hovsep said...

It was a really, really stupid thing to say, but Hevesi obviously didn't really mean that he wanted Bush murdered or that he thought Schumer would murder him given the chance. He apologized and should be royally embarrased by the statement, but this isn't "tantamount to an implicit threat on the President's life."

What's funny about the story is the phrasing, that he made the horribly undiplomatic comment immediately after saying "How do I phrase this diplomatically?"

Simon said...

Ann:"It's Schumer who ought to be angriest about what Hevesi said, because it's saying he's not only a murderous bastard, but also a big pussy. [Hevesi is saying that] Bush has nothing to fear because Schumer only does what he knows he can get away with."

While Schumer probably ought to be angry about it, he's kind of up the creek without a paddle if he wants legal redress, isn't he?

Mark the Pundit said...

The most amazing thing is that if you hear the audio, after he says it, the students cheer.

Take this with the McCain/New School fiasco, and it makes you wonder about the mindset of the youths of New York City.

Palladian said...

So I guess commencement addresses are just venues for political stump speeches after all. Sad.

paulfrommpls said...

It isn't so much that he meant what he said. I see it this way: He was constructing a joke - that's the reason he preceded it with "how do I phrase this diplomatically." That was meant to set up the punch line.

So the interesting thing is - as evidenced by the fact as reported above that the students laughed - is that he, being back in the college context that evidently defines his soul, knew the joke woud work and didn't have the awareness to realize how it would play outside that context.

Given the structure in the joke, I doubt this was completely extemporaneous.

Pogo said...

I dunno, but the excuse proffered is no more than a toddler's "I sorry" after hitting you on purpose, or the juvenile "Did I say that out loud?" after insulting you. That is, it's not an apology at all, for it was not extemporaneous, as Paul states.

But at least the media's already forgiven him.

Coco said...

The comments on here are just as interesting as Hevesi's. You've got to have a pretty myopic view of the world and a sad, sad case of the political "gotchas" to truly believe that Hevesi really meant what he said or that Schumer really wants to do that. In fact, I'm pretty confident that none of the above posters really mean that they believe this but are just speaking extemporaneously.

Its a ridculously embarassing statement but wow, get real folks.

"Once upon a time, most folks who were anti-war were pacifists. No longer, apparently." Right...this is certainly evidence of what "most folks" think. man

Pogo said...

Re: "You've got to have a pretty myopic view of the world and a sad, sad case of the political "gotchas" to truly believe that Hevesi really meant what he said or that Schumer really wants to do that."

Coco, I can see your way, but only up to a point. The phrase, put a bullet between the president's eyes just doesn't sound like the words of a wise man, a sane man, a joking man, or a mere partisan. Apparently the audience found it quite amusing, though, so ha ha ha, I guess.