While some consider being insulted by a rodeo clown the height of achievement, others simply can’t take a joke. Case in point: The antics of a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair were condemned as “borderline illegal” by a writer for The Kansas City Star, accordoing to The Week. The fact that a Republican predecessor of Barack Obama was also fodder for a rodeo clown’s shtick has been ignored.
The clown, Tuffy Gessling, who wore an Obama mask during his act, has been banned for life from the Missouri State Fair.
But adding insult to injury, KC Star editorial writer Yael T. Abouhalkah penned that the clown’s act was no mere parody but somehow incitement to “nuts” who might try to harm the president:
The U.S. Secret Service takes threats against the president seriously. While the president himself was in no danger here, it’s the kind of stupid activity that could give nuts ideas about harming the president.
Abouhalkah leaves it to the reader to find a connection between this “horrible show of respect” (I believe he means “disrespect”) and attempts on the president’s life. He does note, however, that the Missouri State Fair received $400,000 in state taxpayer funding — a point also seized on by Belle Waring of the left-leaning blog Crooked Timber, who observes, ”This was not a private racist rodeo.”
Neither Abouhalkah or Waring appears to have had a problem with National Public Radio, also funded by federal taxpayer money, doing a cartoon sendup of Congress members John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Michelle Bachmann in a video titled “Learn to Speak Tea Bag.”
But independently of this, the outrage over “clown-gate” suggests this is the first time a rodeo clown targeted a U.S. president. It is not. In 1994, a clown at a Texas rodeo led a bull to trample a dummy wearing a mask of former President George H.W. Bush. The Washington Examiner dredged up an account of the escapade that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The big white gate flew open. The bull came out bucking. The rider flopped from side to side and the bullfighters held back, letting the bull make his moves until the rider dropped off. Licciardello crouched in a heavily padded barrel, a human target should the bull decide to charge. Hawkins waited near the barrel, holding his big inner tube. A dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a broomstick.…
T.J. Hawkins rolled out the big inner tube, and the bull lowered his head, shot forward and launched into the tube, sending it bounding down the center of the arena. The crowd cheered. Then the bull saw the George Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him off the fence.