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President Obama, Policeman, Sticking His Nose…


What would your reaction be if, last year, there was a story in which President Bush talked at length about a friend of his, and a campaign donor, who was arrested? And, in the case of this story, he ripped into the local police department involved in the incident?

You’d probably be outraged, and correctly so.

But Bush never did such a thing.

President Obama did.

You’re probably not very upset about the matter. Most likely, this is because you had no idea that this happened, as it wasn’t covered by the media. You, however, no doubt have heard about the incident between the Cambridge, MA police department and prominent African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Last week, Obama spoke out about the matter, lambasting Cambridge’s police department as “acting stupidly” in how they handled Gates’ arrest. You probably do know that Obama described Gates as a friend. But you probably don’t know that Gates donated $4,600 to Obama’s campaign, the most allowed under federal election law, a fact confirmed by the Center for Responsive Politics’ “OpenSecrets” website. And, in the past, Gates has donated to other Democratic political candidates. He, as you could guess, has never donated a dime to Republicans.

Gates’ arrest prompted a discussion about relations between law enforcement and minorities in this country. Obama was correct to point out that, in far too many cases, African-Americans and others have been wrongly targeted by police. But this discussion is not what should be the one on everyone’s minds.

Instead, we should be discussing why Obama felt the need to interject himself into a local police issue. The Cambridge Police Department dropped the charges; however, that doesn’t mean legal proceedings have ended.

From now on, anything involved in this case will now be influenced by Obama’s remarks. Maybe there’s a deputy state prosecutor in Massachusetts who has stars in his eyes and decides to launch an “investigation” into either the Cambridge PD or Gates’ background in order to gain political traction. Maybe there’s a judge angling for a federal position who hears a civil suit filed by Gates who will be leery to rule in a way that may anger people further up the food chain. By speaking out on behalf of his politically connected friend, Obama turned this into an international issue.

If only the media covered it.


photo: www.boston.com