The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A Fox commentator just called Obama a vulgar name. And got suspended for it.

Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, a retired lieutenant colonel, is something of a human thesaurus for insults aimed at President Obama and his administration. “Inept,” “ineffective” and “cowardly” are among the adjectives he’s used recently. My personal favorite line was delivered in mid-November, when Peters described Secretary of State John Kerry as “about as fierce as a chocolate éclair.”

There are so many delicious layers to that insult. Éclairs get eaten. They seem firm enough on the outside but are actually soft at their core. They can’t handle heat. It’s just a brilliant metaphor, no matter whether you think it's appropriate in Kerry's case.

So imagine my disappointment Monday when the same guy who is responsible for that éclair metaphor hit, ahem, below the belt by calling Obama a “total pussy” during an appearance on the Fox Business Network.

The line was clearly a little more candor than host Stuart Varney imagined he’d get when he set up Peters with this: “What were you saying to the TV as the president was speaking?”

“Look, Mr. President, we’re not afraid,” Peters responded, apparently recounting his stream of consciousness during Obama’s address. “We’re angry. We’re pissed off. We’re furious. We want to see you react. We want you to do something. You’re afraid. I mean, this guy is such a total pussy it’s stunning.”

Hey, at least Peters answered honestly.

Varney gave him a finger wag for coarse language: “Okay, Ralph, I can tell you are super angry, and I asked you what your reaction was, but I gotta call you. You can’t use language like that on the program.”

“I’m sorry,” Peters said.

(Update: Fox News host Howard Kurtz tweeted that the network has suspended Peters for two weeks and also meted out the same punishment to contributor Stacy Dash, who said on the air Monday that Obama appeared not to "give a [expletive]" during his Oval Office address.)

Plenty of viewers took to Twitter, naturally, to suggest that he has nothing to apologize for.

Peters might have gotten the sentiment right in the eyes of many, but Varney is correct — you can’t use that kind of language.

Come on, Mr. Peters. You’re better than that. Let’s stick to tasty pastry comparisons, shall we?