Who’s A Chimp?

Today’s silliest controversy relates to this cartoon in today’s New York Post, in which Sean Delonas uses the bizarre case of the crazed chimpanzee who attacked a woman and had to be shot to comment harshly on the Democrats’ “stimulus” package; click to enlarge:

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Readers of the Huffington Post and–who else?–Al Sharpton construe the cartoon as a possibly racist attack on President Obama:

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called the cartoon “troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys.” …

A story about the cartoon on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post Web site drew hundreds of reader responses, many calling the cartoon racist and insensitive.

Sam Stein, a columnist for the site, wrote that “at its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Most provocatively, it compares the president to a rabid chimp. Either way, the incorporation of violence and (on a darker level) race into politics is bound to be controversial.”

There are several problems with this critique. Most obviously, Obama didn’t write the “stimulus” bill. If anyone is being called a chimp, it is Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Beyond that, one can only marvel at the Democrats’ new concern for civility in political discourse. After all, while this cartoon had nothing to do with Obama, we do have a lot of experience with people referring to a President of the United States as a “chimp.” That was President Bush, of course, for whom “chimp” was one of the liberals’ favorite epithets. The insult was commemorated in the name of this web site. Graphic depictions of President Bush as a chimpanzee were legion; a Google Images search turns up page after page of examples. This one appeared at Democratic Underground and elsewhere:

bush_chimp77.JPG

Democrats will no doubt continue to use Obama’s race to try to silence criticism, but they can rest assured that conservatives will never unleash the kind of mindless hate against Obama (or anyone else) that we have all witnessed from the Left over the past six years.

UPDATE: In the most recent version of the story, the AP says the cartoon “appears to link President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee.” It adds that Sharpton and others intend to picket the Post tomorrow.

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