Over the past couple days, Paul has drawn some heat, and I think rightfully so, for an impish remark he made during Wednesday's ceremony at the White House. It went as follows: "After the last eight years, it’s good to have a president that knows what a library is."
Writing on National Review's staff blog, The Corner (an outlet for politically conservative views), Jay Nordlinger firmly chided Paul:
Can anyone tell me why people are such schmucks? Why they are so graceless and clueless and nasty? I mean, Paul McCartney’s like the richest, most popular, most honored musician in the world. Does he not have it in him to behave like a gentleman — or at least a non-boor — while he’s being celebrated at the White House? Does he have to be the Wanda Sykes of popular music? Is it not possible to love Obama, as McCartney does, without hating Bush — or at least insulting him on a high, non-political occasion?
I don’t care that “Penny Lane” is a pretty tune, Paul McCartney is a horse’s butt. Let me amend that: He acted like one, on Wednesday night.
Indeed. Though I'm no admirer of the former president, I agree that the comment was needless and short on tact. Why not stay above petty politics and keep all remarks constructive and celebratory? Why submit to the temptation of using mockery for easy laughs? What's there to gain? Clearly there's much more - respect, goodwill, etc. - to lose. If you're Paul McCartney, a British citizen who is being given an award by the United States Library of Congress as part of a non-political event held at the White House, home of the POTUS, why not go out of your way to be respectful of all the institutions involved, which includes the presidency, which includes former presidents? Doing otherwise makes for an act wholly unbecoming of the occasion. For these reasons, if Obama had witnessed the joke, he likely would have received it with concealed unease. And lastly, if you insist on cracking wise, bring some better material. The comment was both unfunny and inept.
One last note: House Minority Leader John Boehner has asked that Macca apologize.