Only Obama Had the Guts; Rudy, Hillary et al. Chickened Out

Only Senator Barack Obama had the courage to stand up and demand that radio talk-show host Don Imus be fired. The other presidential candidates, including Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and John McCain punted and condemned his statements but stopped short of urging his dismissal.

Imus commits the ultimate sin almost every time he goes on the air:  He makes bigotry fun and hatred entertaining. His ethnic jokes appeal to the basest of our prejudices and legitimize them.  When he calls former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s hairstyle “buckwheat big hair” or he lets comedians on his show refer to “bagel-eating little Jew boys” and attributes their protests in their community to the fact that “they raised the price of bagels a nickel,” he spews his poison on the airwaves.

But all of the presidential candidates had a dilemma: Imus might survive the controversy. He might remain on the air. And, in that capacity, they knew he would take revenge on all those who dissed him during his trials. So Giuliani, Hillary, McCain and the rest copped out and settled for criticizing his remarks.

But Obama showed real guts. Of course it was easier for him to urge Imus’s dismissal since the current targets of his bile were black. But just the same, he demanded Imus’s dismissal. Once he spoke out, Imus’s fate was sealed. The networks now have to fire him.

In the first test of courage in the 2007-08 campaign, Rudy, Hillary, McCain and the rest were found wanting. But Obama came through with flying colors.