Forty-plus years of debates over the Redskins name have finally taken us to October 2015, when a major presidential candidate began using the team name as part of his stump speech.
During a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Wednesday, former Florida governor and current Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush worked the name debate into a wide-ranging address about domestic and foreign policy and the apparently fiery temperature of the electorate.
“This is not the worst time in American history,” Bush said early in his speech. “This is not the time to have people come and feed your angst or feed your anger. There’s a legitimate reason why people are angry. Look at Washington, D.C. You know, I was asked on a sports talk show, I was asked my views on the Washington Redskins. And I said look, you know, there’s a lot of big pressing problems here; I don’t think we need to be so politically correct, and try to, through government, take the name Redskins off. If that’s what they want, leave them alone, for crying out loud. Let’s worry about the complicated nature of our regulations and taxes and other things.
“And the Left went crazy, as you might expect, because they are a little more politically correct these days. And someone sent me an e-mail and said ‘Jeb, the term Redskins isn’t the pejorative; it’s Washington that’s the pejorative.’ If they’re going to change their name, I don’t know what you’d call it, Northern Virginia Redskins or something like that.”
This last part was, of course, greeted with whoops and cheers.
Look, whatever your opinion on the name debate, I hope you’d agree it’s amazing that a leading candidate to become our next President is now making hacky Redskins name jokes you’ve spent the past few months, or years, rolling your eyes at. We’ve got to be, like, five minutes away from Bush suggesting the team keeps its name but change its logo to a potato.
This is at least the third time Bush has made the same joke in the past two weeks. During a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt last week, Bush was asked about media coverage of the so-called chaos afflicting House Republicans.
“It’s not chaotic; it’s dysfunctional, it just doesn’t work,” Bush replied, via The Hill. “Now, there was a big argument about the Washington Redskins, the ‘Redskins’ being a pejorative term. I think ‘Washington’ is the pejorative term, not the ‘Redskins.’ ”
And in an interview with Fox Sports 1’s Clay Travis, Bush was asked about the response to his original comments backing the Redskins name.
“Someone sent me an email saying you got it wrong,” Bush said, via Politico. “In the term Washington Redskins, the part of that that’s bad is Washington. I thought, well that’s a better answer, actually. People disparage Washington, D.C., because of its dysfunction. And I just think private businesses ought to be left alone. You know, having trademark lawsuits, having the federal government get involved in this for political correctness purposes. People’s views on these things evolve. Let it happen naturally, organically.”
I’m telling you, America’s presidential candidates, go with the potato joke. It slays every time.