As Republicans, we can’t laud Kanye West but denounce Michelle Wolf

As Republicans, we can’t laud Kanye West but denounce Michelle Wolf
© Getty Images

If one turned on the White House Correspondents' Dinner over the weekend, one might have been shocked to hear political epithets being flung at senior White House officials, mothers and women in the workplace.

While comedian Michelle Wolf’s abortion joke was certainly grotesque and her “f-bombs” far too vulgar for family viewing, it was her attack on conservative women that caught the nation’s attention.

ADVERTISEMENT
To suggest that a tree should fall on Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayKellyanne Conway changes Twitter bio amid media coverage of her husband's Trump criticism Conway’s husband: I’d rather move to Australia than vote for Trump Kellyanne Conway: Trump could shut down government for wall funding MORE — the counselor to the president of the United States, the first successful female campaign manager of a presidential campaign in American history, a working woman and mother of four — was utterly outrageous.

 

To proclaim that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a liar and to make veiled references about her appearance — though some of that is up for debate today — is yet another outrage that was all too beneath the respected, historic White House Correspondents' Association.

As awful as the comments were, sadly, hateful comments are par for the course in political discourse today. Turn on any Twitter feed and you’ll see the relentless attacks on conservative women, in particular.

Disagree with someone? Death to you. Support President Donald Trump? You’re an Uncle Tom to all womankind. Have a different viewpoint? You must be a liar.

Political hate speech has become the norm; however, the truth is it was happening years before President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE became president.

As for their role in it, White House Correspondents' Association President Margaret Talev suggested they failed in their overall mission. However, I’m not entirely sure about that.

As awful as the things were that their hired hand said, Wolf had a right to say them — not simply as a paid performer who had the endorsement of the club by her mere presence on their stage, but through her First Amendment constitutional right.

Therefore, even if people agree to disagree with her then the true point of the press club was proven: no matter how egregious the things one might say, one still has the right to say them.

As for the rest of us, we need to lighten up. While the tensions are high between the White House and the press corps these days, the purpose of the dinner was to come together and laugh at our own expenses. If at the 2011 dinner President Obama could joke about being born in Kenya, then what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Our inability to laugh at ourselves is precisely why Republicans lose so many culture wars, from late-night talk shows to big-screen Hollywood movies. As our friend Andrew Breitbart reminded us, politics flows from culture. Therefore, we must stay in the game — or in the case of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, at least stay in the room.

As Republicans, we cannot in the same week applaud Kanye West for standing up for one’s thoughts and freedom of expression, then turn around and complain about a comedian’s performance at dinner.

Meantime, while we all await the fate of next year’s White House Correspondents' Dinner we can all play a key role in moving beyond Saturday night. By elevating the public discourse and talking more fiercely about principles, rather than people, we can get to the real debate over ideas and figure out the best way forward for our nation.

Now that should be a message that everyone can get behind.

Jen Kerns has served as a GOP strategist and writer for the U.S. presidential debates for FOX News. She previously served as communications director and spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, the Colorado Recalls over gun control, and the Prop. 8 battle over marriage which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.