One can only imagine how the Obama-bashers are going to treat the latest bit of completely irrelevant information as fodder to attack the sitting president of the United States.
On March 6 in a tribute to legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin, President Obama flubbed the spelling of her hit song “Respect,” in which the word is famously spelled out as part of the lyrics: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
Obama left out the “E” – quite conspicuously, as the omission drew laughter from the crowd – when he said “When Aretha first told us what… R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her,” and described how it became a rallying cry for African-Americans, women, and anyone else who felt marginalized.
Newsflash: Obama knows how to spell the word respect. He knows it contains two ees. He also knew there were only 50, not 60 states when, during the 2008 campaign trail, he said he had visited “57 states” and only had “three to go.”
Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, also knows where food is placed at the dinner table. When he said “put food on your families” at one point during his presidency, he really meant “put food on the table for your families.” It was not as if he were envisioning balancing a plate of spaghetti on Grandma’s head or placing chicken wings on Uncle Chester’s shoulders.
And, of course, there is Potatoegate, which poor Dan Quayle – vice president for Bush’s dad, George, Sr. – never lived down. During a 1992 spelling bee at an elementary school Quayle was visiting, an 11 year-old boy spelled potato the way most of us do: P-O-T-A-T-O. Quayle, who was judging the contest, declared it wrong, because the boy forgot to add an “E” at the end.
That’s all the Quayle-bashers needed. Just like Obama has to deal with Birthers, Quayle (and many other Republicans) have to deal with “Dumbers,” – ruthless character assassins who insist that Republicans are dumb (and when they absolutely cannot get away with it, as in the case of, say, walking encyclopedia Newt Gingrich – then the Republicans in question are “evil”).
But Quayle justified his judgment call because the card on which the correct answer was written, did in fact spell it P-O-T-A-T-O-E.
Another newsflash: even though the “E” spelling has been phased out in recent years, both spellings are correct, and many sources continued to spell the word with the “E” even during 1992 incident, not least of which on several occasions, the New York Times!
But didn’t Quayle know the more common spelling is without the “E” so as to have given the boy credit? He says he wanted to follow the rules and go by what the cards said. The epitome of a strict constructionist. No judicial activism for VP Dan!
The moral of this story is – when our politicians make mistakes, it is funny. When people carry it to the point of hateful ridicule, it is unfortunate. And when masses actually take the comments seriously and incorporate them in their overall assessment of the individuals in question, it is pitiful.
As for Obama, the latest victim of the “gotcha” game, let’s just say he simply gave back the letter “E” that Quayle had lent out 22 years ago.