Here is a sneak preview of our Tuesday editorial on the flap over the Caldwell billboard displaying President Barack Obama and Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes.
Even Maurice Clements says the message he posted on a Caldwell electronic billboard might have been “poorly done”.
That’s an understatement, albeit after the fact.
But the billboard remained up Monday, showing President Barack Obama alongside Colorado movie theater mass murder suspect James Holmes — a juxtaposition that manages to combine poor reasoning with even poorer taste.
Clements said he was trying to call attention to Obama’s failure to bring U.S. troops home as promised, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans and civilians. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize despite his lethal foreign policy decisions, said Clements; meanwhile, after 12 people died in the Colorado theater shootings, “everyone freaks out.”
As Clements said last week, “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic.”
No, of course not. By placing a picture of Obama next to that a wild-eyed spree shooting suspect, Clements is merely implying that Obama is a lunatic.
And that should offend anyone — regardless of political leanings.
Especially in the middle of a presidential election, foreign policy records deserve reasoned and thoughtful debate. Clements says he believes the U.S. should withdraw all troops from the Middle East, and he says both Bush administrations deserve their share of the blame for the current situation. A billboard provides little space for nuance, however.
Predictably enough, for anyone weary of seeing Idaho get bad national publicity over one Idahoan’s poorly chosen words, the billboard made the rounds on political blogs and in the national media.
Lost in much of the coverage is the fact that Clements is a former state legislator; this spring, he sought to return to the Statehouse after a 36-year absence. Canyon County Republicans rejected his state Senate bid in May.
Good thing, too. It’s bad enough Clements has access to a billboard. The last thing he needs is a political title.