Yael T. Abouhalkah

Stop the inane George H.W. Bush rodeo clown outrage

Updated: 2013-08-15T01:14:12Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman is just the latest conservative mad that many Americans are upset about the clown who wore a President Barack Obama mask during a shameful skit at the Missouri State Fair.

Stockman, a Texas Republican, and others contend and contend some more that people riled about the embarrassing behavior of the announcers, the clown and the audience were wrong.

The real outrage, they say, is that people didn’t get upset over what they claim was a similar incident involving clowns, a rodeo and a George H.W. Bush mask.

In 1994.

Yes, this is the one story that keeps getting repeated by conservatives around the country, including Stockman. It’s a 19-year-old incident that has nothing to do with what happened last Saturday in Missouri, where the nation's first black president was ridiculed before a guffawing audience.

Stockman’s reference is outdated, time-wise and racially.

The primary difference is that — in the 2013 stunt — a largely rural, largely white audience in Sedalia was egged into laughing at the possibility of someone wearing a black man’s face being threatened in a rodeo ring.

On Wednesday, Stockman announced that the clown who wore the Obama mask — and was subsequently barred from the Missouri State Fair for life — could perform at a fair in or near his Texas district.

In doing so, Stockman couched his press release as a defense of free speech: “Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with.”

He added: “No one tried to personally destroy the rodeo clown who wore a George H.W. Bush mask.”

Actually, from the 1994 story, “A dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a broomstick.”

Oh, and by late Wednesday it was not clear whether Stockman really has any power at all to get the clown a gig at a rodeo in Texas.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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