Humorless Dem's Bad "Temperamint" – UPDATE

So, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Joe Armstrong — a humorless Democrat state representative — goes into a college bookstore and sees these silly things:

And what does he do? Just what you’d expect:

[University of Tennessee] pulled the mints poking fun at Obama from bookstore shelves after state Rep. Joe Armstrong, a Democrat, visited the bookstore and told the director he found the satirical mints offensive.

“When you operate on state and federal dollars, you ought to be sensitive to those type of politically specific products,” Armstrong said. “If it was a private entity or corporation or store, (that’s different), but this is a state university. We certainly don’t want in any way to put the university in a bad light by having those political (products), particularly aimed at defaming the president.”

Every time I think I’ve discovered the stupidest person in politics, another even stupider one pops up.

By the way, the campus bookstore had in previous years carried these mints, with nary a peep of complaint:

Armstrong insisted he would take the same stance if he had seen mints making fun of Bush.

Well of course he would, because:

“With a book or something of that nature, then fine, but that (the mints) is sort of a discretionary product they have,” Armstrong said. “It wasn’t viewpoint neutral. Very specifically insulting to the president.”

Obviously, had Armstrong — who probably claims to love entrepreneurship — seen this, he would have insisted that the shirt be outlawed. Because it was very specifically insulting to the president.:

And we all know — because Nancy Pelosi and others have told us — that Dem politicians take exceeding offense at any real or satirical jibe made at any president, because of their overwhelming and intense respect for the Office!

Quoted within the article is Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at UT, who says:

“Let me make very clear, there is no candy exception to the First Amendment . . Free speech is free speech. If you make fun of the president in a mint, it is just as much free speech as it is if you make fun of the president in a political cartoon.”

While citizens have the right to express disapproval of a message on a tin can of breath mints, that opinion has more heft when it’s coming from a government official, Reynolds said, calling it “a species of censorship.. . . . I just think it’s really quite odd to hear of a state legislator to take it upon himself to have something removed from a bookstore. It’s the kind of thing people make fun of Mississippi for,” Reynolds added.

Reynolds also points out at his site that these very Obama mints are sold by The Nation.

Methinks the Democrats had better buck up and try to develop a sense of humor — at least enough of one to let satire slide — otherwise there is no way they’ll have the fortitude to endure the sort of genuine rage, earned distrust and outright mockery they’re going to be encountering out there on the campaign trail, this time.

And the mockery…oh, the mockery is going to sting.

For the record, although Joe Armstrong could not handle a little tin of disappointmints, I think Barack Obama would take the things in stride. After all, if Jesus can handle it, why shouldn’t Obama?

Grace in the face of one’s foes, after all, is a Messiah thing.

And Christopher Buckley did tell us that Barack Obama had a “first class temperamint!”

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey writes:

Had this been a private citizen complaining to a private-sector business owner, there would be nothing wrong with it. In the private sector, customers complaints require attention if a business owner wants to keep his business open for very long. Even a boycott is a perfectly rational private-sector response to a private-sector issue, even if most boycotts are demonstrations of impotence and usually misguided.

However, that’s a far cry from a legislator telling a state facility to take something off the shelves because it offends his partisan leanings.

Too true. And chilling. “First, they came for our mints…”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • The Hermit

    For me it’s the presidency that should be respected, not always the individual in the presidency. It is our right to poke fun at all levels of our government. You know me, you know how Center to left leaning I am, but I think that poking fun at a president is okay, but we must always respect the Office of the President.

  • jen

    Too-shay, Elizabeth!! Bravo! What a bunch of crybabies.

  • bobdevine

    I thought I was reading just another post about an offended lefty until your conclusion. Messiah Mints! Thats great.

  • kenneth

    I think those mints are hilarious and dead-on….and I voted for the guy! I’m going to have to track down a few tins now…

    Another element to the story that is not clear: they call it a “university bookstore” and indeed it is run on university property and under its auspices, but I’m not aware of any college bookstore anymore that is truly run by the institution. So far as I can tell they are all private outside vendors who cut a deal to run the stores.

    In any case, a university is supposed to be the one place where no ideas are truly off limits. Even though my politics put me at risk of being labeled (gasp)..a “liberal,” I hate the PC mindset wherever it rears its ugly head. My contempt for liberal weeny politicians like this guy is every bit as deep as my contempt for right wingers who think they have the right to dictate who people marry, how they worship or what medical treatments they are allowed.

  • dry_valleys

    Surely the people who buy these mints are more likely to be leftists who think Obama has disappointed them because he is too centrist? Your average conservative has always hated the president, and presumably wouldn’t be “disappointed” because he expected nothing to begin with.

    I don’t support Joe Armstrong’s efforts, you’ll be pleased to hear, nor do I support political correctness anywhere it’s found. I don’t think he’ll find himself having many friends to be honest.

  • dry_valleys

    (And that Messiah Mints is the only genuinely funny one out of all the three).