First Lena Dunham, the Joyce Maynard of a new generation, does a YouTube ad for the Obama campaign, and Foreign Policy asks “Is the Obama campaign taking commercial ideas from Vladimir Putin?” Not just commercial ideas, the commentors assure each other! Garance Frank-Ruta (perhaps ironically) also brings out the Cavuto Mark — “Lena Dunham’s New Obama Ad—As Controversial As Everything She Does?” — linking to the well-known moralists at Breitbart.com and RightScoop, who are appalled by the filthy sluttiness of it all. (I suppose I should look for Ross Doubthat’s opinion, but there’s only so much I’m willing to withstand for you guys.) Of course, as GQ‘s Reid Cherlin helpfully points out, “People who see this video and are outraged were going to vote for Romney anyway. “
Then Douglas Brinkley, sercon historian guy, does a Rolling Stone cover interview with President Obama (which you should definitely read if you haven’t already), and includes a throwaway line:
… As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. After a thoughtful pause, she said, “Tell him: You can do it.”
Obama grinned. “That’s the only advice I need,” he said. “I do very well, by the way, in that demographic. Ages six to 12? I’m a killer.”
“Thought about lowering the voting age?” Bates joked.
“You know, kids have good instincts,” Obama offered. “They look at the other guy and say, ‘Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.'”…
Worse things have been said about Willard Mitt Romney, of course, but the President used a naughty word, on the record! eleventy-one! The Latino Rebels blog has a pretty good collection of links to the various MSM reactions. The Daily Mail points out that noted Christianist and prominent moral scold Rick Santorum has also used the bs-word in public, as recently as last March. Dave Weigel at Slate has the best capper:
… The late-game presidential cuss word is a factor with some precedent. In the last week of the 1968 campaign, Richard Nixon slipped and said that the campaign was “getting down to the nut-cutting.” In 2000, most famously, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were unaware that a mic was picking up their conversation about New York Times reporter Adam Clymer. “Major league asshole,” said Bush. “Big time,” said Cheney. And Politifact wasn’t even around to discuss whether this was true.
And, hey, look! Both Nixon and Bush won close elections.
Incidentally, one of the earliest political anecdotes I can remember hearing as a small child involved another Democratic president, the then recently-retired Harry Truman, who was said to have offended some ladies at his wife’s tea party with a reference to “manuring the lawn”.
“My dear,” said one of them to Bess, after Harry left, “Couldn’t you get him to say… fertilizer?”
To which Bess replied, “It’s taken me forty years to train him to use ‘manure’.”