Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tar Baby! Why Stop There! How 'Bout Porch Monkey?

SNOW USED TERM IN 1999 COLUMN ABOUT YUGOSLAVIA


Newly-minted White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, at his first and maybe last press briefing

When watching the clip of Tony Snow utter what surely will become an infamous line, "I don't want to hug the tar baby", it's notable that he doesn't flinch or show any inkling of what he said despite audible gasps and nervous chuckling from the White House press corps.

Did Snow misspoke? The White House is saying nothing but some are quickly taking a contrarian stance by highlighting an alternate meaning to the phrase tar baby. It ironically means putting yourself in a sticking situation, but the unfortunate use of the term quickly conjures a grostesque connotation, but, this is not the first time Snow has use this term.

In a 1999 column, now posted on the website of the Jewish World Review, Snow used the term referring to President Bill Clinton and the Balkan Wars.
Most congressional Republicans are guilty of appalling cynicism and silence. They figure Clinton has hugged the tar baby in the Balkans and they want to watch him writhe.

The term originates from "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby" seen here. For those who find the term and its imagery acceptable note the unfortunate appearance of Uncle Remus.

Could this mean that in a single press conference, Snow has raised the bar of ineptitude over that of his predecessor, Scott McClellan, who had the poise not to refer to the African-Americans surrounded by floodwater in New Orleans as "porch monkeys".

It may be surprising that someone of Snow's stature and genteel temperament could casually use such a term, but it also points to an administration that at times, has been openly and unapologetically hostile to blacks. The thing is that the Bush White House has this demeanor regardless of skin color. The only difference here, is with a shocking 90% of the demographic voting against Bush in the last election, blacks are the only one's wise to it.

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