Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beer Summit

So today is the breaking of the bread between Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. Crowley.

This could actually be interesting. Remember, this meeting was suggested by Crowley when Obama called him - so it wasn't just a damage control idea of the Obama handlers. Obama agreed to it, certainly, because it would help wipe his own gigantic misstep off the front pages, but it wasn't his idea.

My friend and partner Jim Pasero points out that Obama is at some significant risk here. Crowley has been empowered by Obama to essentially represent and speak for the entire nation's law enforcement professionals. Obama insulted them all in his statement last week.

Crowley now goes to a White House meeting with both Obama and Gates. Obama probably figures Crowley will be so intimidated by the surroundings that he will go along with whatever reconciliation narrative his handlers want to portray from the meeting.

But what if Crowley doesn't go along with the narrative?

There will be that moment when Crowley emerges from the White House to a crush of gathered media waiting for his report. What if he uses that "teachable moment" to make a point? Isn't Obama playing a high risk game here, assuming that Crowley will go along with Obama's purpose for the meeting?

What if he doesn't?

What if he emerges, and says: "I really hoped I could get an apology from the President for smearing the good work of a nation's law enforcement officers and from Professor Gates for his ridiculous behavior that resulted in his arrest, but they were more interested in a charade...."

Oh my, that would blow this whole thing into the stratosphere. And Obama has set himself up for it, giving the power to a single man whom he has already insulted.

Chances are, Crowley does play along with Obama's narrative and emerges with all the happy talk about breaking of bread and reconciliation. But there is at least some chance Crowley will use the moment to make a point.

Wouldn't that be fun?

9 comments:

Ready Rick said...

I think the chance that Crowley would do this is pretty low. But it would be cool! Obama would look such the fool, having walked right into a huge PR fiasco.

It is interesting to think that this one man, Crowley, has such an opportunity. Last week he was just a police seargent on a routine B&E call.

Now he is at the White House, being used as a prop in another Obama one-act play.

Will he go along, or will he use his opportunity to represent his brethren?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Crowley is a liberal. The last thing most liberals like to do is criticize their own. He'll just suck it up and tell everyone what a great guy Barry is.

R Hall said...

Which part of Obama's statement insulted all of law enforcement, his comment that... "“What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by police disproportionately,” he said. “That’s just a fact.”

Are you saying that is untrue? That DWB is a myth or far in the past?

Rob Kremer said...

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cpp02.pdf

Pretty much, yes.

R Hall said...

I guess you're right... they're not more likely to be stopped... just more likely to have force used against them.

"During a traffic stop in 2002, police were more likely to use force against a black (2.7%) or Hispanic (2.4%) driver than a white (0.8%) driver."

and...

it's not just traffic stops either:

"• Among the 45.3 million residents age
16 or older who had a contact with
police in 2002, about 1.5% (664,500
persons) had a contact in which police used or threatened force against them. The 1.5% in 2002 is greater than the percentage in 1999. In 1999, 1% (0.98%) of persons with contact experienced force or the threat of force.

• Among those with police contact,
blacks (3.5%) and Hispanics (2.5%)
were more likely than whites (1.1%) to experience police threat or use of force during the contact."

My mistake for being too narrow in my scope... but given the wide disparity in the amount of force used, I don't think you can be too critical of Obama.

R Hall said...

And from the 2005 report:

"White, black, and Hispanic drivers were stopped by
police at similar rates; blacks and Hispanics were
searched by police at higher rates than whites

3.6% for whites

9.5 % for African Americans

8.8 % for Hispanics.

Contacts between Police and the Public, 2005

CB said...

I suspect that Crowley will take the high road. Easing race relations will likely over-ride the opportunity to make Obama look bad. If he is a cop of any character, that will be the result.

@ R Hall - there is a long way to go in solving all the percieved concerns over profiling and/or discrimination. I agree that all is not perfect.

It would be interesting for me however to know percentages of which groups are committing crimes, or have attempted to use force against police. I guess if any racial group is more likely to attempt force against the police, commit a crime, or resist the police, then the numbers from your listed report become somewhat irrelevant.

I would bet that more men are stopped and searched than women, but does that mean that men are being picked on?

Anonymous said...

No matter what Sgt. Crowley says, President Obama has acted stupidly. Everyone ought to be able to agree on that.

Anonymous said...

For me it is as simple as - all three men wish they could go back in time and act differently, supported by perfect 20-20 hindsight.