Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has come under fire lately for his remarks that attempting to find common ground with President Obama on the budget was “like touching a tar baby.”
“Even if some people say, ‘Well, the Republicans should have done this or should have done that,’ they will hold the president responsible,” said Lamborn. “Now, I don’t even want to be associated with him. It's like touching a, a tar baby and you get it . . . you know you’re stuck, and you’re part of the problem now, and you can’t get away.”
Many have taken this as a racial slur. He’s apologized.
But that hasn’t stopped the furor.
But something in his apology was striking. His office’s statement read: “Lamborn was attempting to tell a radio audience last week that the president’s policies have created an economic quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces.
“He regrets that he chose the phrase ‘tar baby,’ rather than the word ‘quagmire.’ ”
Don’t you hate it when that happens? “I really meant to say something inoffensive, but instead I used a word that is a racially charged landmine!”
I bet Rep. Lamborn refers often to his favorite “Family Guy” character, Glenn Tar Baby. “It just keeps slipping out,” he says. “I always mean to say ‘quagmire,’ and this voice in my head keeps suggesting ‘tar-baby.’ You should see what my Autocorrect does. The other day I meant to text that I really respected President Obama’s motives, if not his policies, and instead I sent out something offensive that referred several times to the stories of Joel Chandler Harris and a video clip from ‘Song of the South.’ ”
Does this happen to other people? “I regret,” Sarah Palin wrote, “that I chose the word ‘blood libel’ rather than ‘not blood libel.’”
“I regret that I chose the word ‘macaca,’ rather than ‘upstanding gentleman whom I see with the eyes that are within and whose heritage I respect,’ ” Geoge Allen explains.
I worry that somewhere out there is a really nice man who keeps saying “quagmire” when he means tar baby, and all his neighbors have a higher opinion of him than is warranted.
Now I’m terrified whenever I want to say the word ‘quagmire’ lest what happened to Lamborn happens to me. One thing’s certain, this mistaken word has certainly left Lamborn in a — sticky wicket.