Friday, December 30, 2011

Don Cheadle Fucks Up ... Needs Civics 101

If there's an epidemic of foot-in-mouth disease going around Hollywood, I think poor Don Cheadle's contracted it. Either that or Headupassitis.

Apparently, in a recent interview with Jet magazine, he expressed his wish that "Obama" (what is it with these people that they can never use this man's title?) had been more of a "gangster" as President.

To hear a man regarded as one of the most intelligent and astute actors in Hollywood validate the comments of a racist masquerading as a Leftwing fundit (an unfunny comedian trying to be a political relevance) it totally disheartening.

What's disheartening is the realisation that Cheadle's "intelligence" may just be a facade as big and as broad as Matt Damon's pretence. Maybe I'm too harsh. Maybe Don just needs a few Civics 101 lessons, although he does say he watched Schoolhouse Rock and knows how a bill becomes a law.

Hmmm ... that's debatable, judging from the detailed statement he was forced to make clarifying what exactly he meant by using such a racially stereotypical and offensive term as "gangster" to describe the President.

Here's the bulk of Cheadle's response. Rub your eyes first, because, in addition to Civics 101, he needs a refresher course in punctuation and paragraph structure, so I've snipped it for comment value.

I realize that when speaking to reporters who are looking for the juiciest comments to print, a word like gangster in connection with a black president uttered by a black celebrity can almost be too much to resist. I also realize that when you do an interview you are likely to at least have your comments reduced and constructed to fit into a required space and never do you have say over the final edit. I say this not in defense but to offer some perspective. I believe I used the word gangster and I meant it. But I wasn’t talking about pants sagging and forties and “hoes” or any of that other nonsense and I find it hard to believe that that is what some people thought I was saying. I was talking about wish fulfillment; my own and my desire to witness something more than I had.

(In other words, folks, I didn't listen to a single word, the President said. Instead, I saw a rock star, a tabula rasa onto which I projected my hopes, my thoughts and my dreams. Now I know that I'm not gonna get my pony, and I'm disappointed. I'm not saying I wanted Shaft, but I'd have settled for Denzel Washington.) Tough. Denzel sticks to the profession he knows best.

When I was called by then Senator Obama to stump for him in 2008, I was honored and eager to do so. I took my two daughters with me to college campuses and rallied the troops for voter drives. Every opportunity I had to speak in public about my support for him, I did and still do. He is the clear choice in my opinion for 2012 and I will again support his re-election but those facts don’t mitigate what I earlier expressed about gangster, they coexist side by side.

Coming out of eight years of a president who I believe in many ways took us as dangerously close to the brink of destruction as any before him, I was hoping for a seismic shift in the other direction.

(Ah, yes ... another one who bought into the Bush-is-a-dictator meme and hoped that, really, this President would do the same, only in a Leftward bend. Tell me, Don, do you actually know that the President is not really that powerful a position within our structur of government. Civics 101, please. If you understand the relationship Congress bears to the President and vice versa, then you'll understand why there was no sharp veering to the Left. Besides, Don, if you'd bothered to listen to the President, in between all those hours you were campaigning for him and, at the same time, basking in your own celebrity status, you'd have realised that Barack Obama is and always has been a Left-of-Centre Pragmatic. Like Lincoln.)

I don’t think we’ve had that. Many of my friends and family are scratching it out somewhere decidedly south of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, looking at losing their homes, colleges they can’t afford and healthcare they can’t avail themselves of. They’re the ones I’m thinking of when I say gangster. I understand the constraints of the president when dealing with a congress apparently dead set against working with him and I know how a bill becomes a law (I used to watch Schoolhouse Rock too).

( {Sigh} You obviously don't.)

President Obama inherited a broken country mired in two wars, a financial crisis, a mortgage mess and more than we all probably even know about and has in my opinion brought us back from the brink. But I still see my friends in no better shape and the gap widening.

(The President has said repeatedly that this crisis was very deep and would take about ten years to sort out - that was first said, actually, when the President (as is) was the President-Elect. That's ten years from 2009 - that's almost three terms of a Democratic President. I say "Democratic" because the Republicans would lead us further back into the mire they stirred up 30 years ago.

Hear that, Don? The President is cleaning up a big stink left, first, by Reagan and then by Saint Bill Clinton, the Big Dog, the Great White Hope. Jeez, if you think one man is going to clean up a thirty-year halcyon in less than four years alone, you're not just dumb, you're stupid.)

I am not a policy maker and have no desire to be one. I am not running for office and would never be elected were I to. I have no designs on becoming a lobbyist.

Good. Then don't comment on something about which you only have a layman's knowledge, if that. Stick to the daytime job, Don. You're good at it. Anyway, we have enough "iconic" celebrity talking heads populating the fabled 1%. Besides, opinions are like assholes; everybody has one.

I am a father, a “husband”, an actor and a citizen of this country and planet who flippantly expressed on a press tour, a desire to see our president riding roughshod over his adversaries to get the job done for the least represented amongst us.

(Well, there really must be a Hollywood bubble, Don, or else, you've been hanging out smoking weed with Matt Damon. Because that's exactly what our President has been doing. Ask Lily Ledbetter. Ask the parents of Matthew Shepherd. Ask the scores of people whose children can stay on their health insurance until they're twenty-six. Ask the soldiers home at last from Iraq.

And, by the way, did you vote in the 2010 Mid-Terms, Don? Because if you didn't, you enabled the House of Representatives which exists today - a Republican majority who dances to the tune of the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party. We only ever had the elusice sixty-vote majority in the Senate for a few months, and one of those sixty votes was Joe Lieberman. 2010 lessened our majority in the Senate, which means various Republicans have to be courted for their votes, which means compromise. The President can't ride roughshod over Congress. No President ever has. Not even Bill Clinton, although revisionist history would tell you otherwise.

Bottom line, Don ... if you want a more liberal President, give him a more liberal Congress. Why don't you leave the Left Coast and campaign for some genuinely liberal candidates running in races with a real Republican opposition? Get out and talk to the low-information voters in some of these areas, and convince them of the President's good intentions. After all, that's your job as an operative.)

I still want that. I still want that with full knowledge that it might be an uphill fight that ultimately proves impossible given the hostile impasse our president faces. I still have a fevered dream of the POTUS smacking up John Boehner in a public forum in middle America and making him defend support of tax cuts for the super rich.

(Ain't gonna happen that way. The President is a smart man. He's already made Boehner look small several times. Do pay attention.)

I want to see somebody go to jail over the financial crisis and not just black, brown and poor whites over humbles and minor drug beefs. I want the president to bail out homeowners who fell for the okey doke from predatory lenders and are two seconds from living on the streets or are already there.

(Again, and I cannot say it enough, give him something with which to work. Reagan and Clinton completely deregulated the credit and banking industries. There was no way, given the nature of some of those people on the Hill, in 2010, with such Wall Street ties, like Chuck Schumer and Anthony Weiner (Democrats, by the way), amongst others, that a tightly regulated bill would pass. The best we could do was Dodd-Frank. We can build on that, with the right kind of people in Congress. Don, the President doesn't legislate. And as for prosecutions, as he, himself, said, what those people did was immoral, but - thanks to former Presidents - it wasn't illegal. Kinda like the same argument you have to give to the Republicans when they whine about abortion being murder. It might be immoral to them, but it isn't illegal. Again, you want them prosecuted, give us the Congress to do so - the buck might stop with the President, but it beings in the House.)

I want to see industrial polluters who are killing all of us slowly by poisoning our fragile environment swap places with the kid doing 15 years in Chino for shoplifting shoes. I want him to stand in front of the haters and go all Bill Duke on them and say, “You know you done fucked up now, don’t you?” I kinda want a gangster president.

(Shut up and sit down. We've never had a President do that, and I hope we never will. Look at the big mouths in Congress who engaged in that kind of discourse. Alan Grayson. Anthony Weiner. Where are they now? Not in Congress. The President is the President of all the people, and we are a diverse nation. If he goes angry black man on anyone, I don't care whom, he's going to be hanged, drawn and quartered by the media. He's the President. He's above that. That shit happens in the movies. You seriously need to visit reality some more.)

I was about to write that in the future I would chose my words more carefully but I’m sure I won’t. Besides, I think the debate is more enriching. I appreciate all the articles I was directed to and will try to find time to read them although I don’t need any more proof to support President Obama. I’m glad he’s at the wheel and not me – I woulda swung at somebody by now. I wish you all peace in the New Year and let’s keep on keeping on.

(Try some evening classes. And stick to the daytime job. Sometimes, Hollywood and politics don't mix. Just look at Roseanne Barr.)


  1. Emilia, you are the best! Thanks for another great post!

  2. I'm sick of the idiocy and it isn't even officially 2012 yet. Thanks for taking it to this pretentious jackass with both barrels.

  3. On point and great rebuttal, Emilia.

    Last night I caught the tail end of that twitter war between Don Cheadle and a small but unrelenting posse of sista bloggers, and I tell you they gave Cheadle a run for his money. They roughed him up big time (with only true facts about the President) and he deserved it! I had hoped that the extended response Cheadle promised last night would show a redeemed man today, but honestly I find his extended reponse worse than his live interaction on twitter. I mean can you believe that after having a full night's sleep to think about it, Cheadle would come up with the weak ass and uninformed explanation that he gave? You would think he would have taken some of the commenters' advice for recommended reading. But noooo, this dude basically stuck to his "gangsta" guns and showed his ignorance.
    I've never been a big fan of Don Cheadle as an actor. And seeing him in this new light has left me even less impressed.

  4. Huffington Post has asked Cheadle for an interview after witnessing the attempts of some of us to educate him about the facts underlying the reasons why PBO hasn't been able to provide him with his own special pony. We provided him with links to Hoos Left?, TPV, TOD, and other pragmatic sites. Hopefully, he'll read posts on them before running to Huffington Post to show his ignorance. If he doesn't, he can expect the Pragmatic Brigade to set him straight on Twitter. Cheadle doesn't understand, or doesn't want to understand, that a gangsta in the WH is exactly what the GOP would like. PBO refuses to give them what they want, and this leaves them swinging in the wind looking like fools, because when most Americans see PBO, they don't see a gangsta--they see the POTUS, and that is exactly what I voted for when I cast my vote for BO in November 2008.