A wall in the conference room of the Adams County Courthouse in Hastings, Nebraska sported a Photoshopped picture of President Obama looking like a street tough with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth… at least until the photo attracted media attention.
Meetings of the Adams County Board of Supervisors were held in this room with the photo hanging on the wall. It was placed there by an elected official…. Adams County Supervisor Eldon Orthmann.
Supervisor Orthmann said that hanging the picture was not a political statement, but was just a joke.
It was more just fun. It is not anything against him. I am a Republican, but that was not the issue at all.
Mr. Orthmann told the Associated Press:
I didn’t do it because I have a lot of dislike for the president…It was about the push for health care, smoking and having a little fun. It was just tongue-in-cheek…. If I had known it was going to cause this much of a stir, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Then again, maybe I would have. I think we have much larger problems in government than a picture of the president smoking.
Now, I enjoy a good joke as much as the next guy, but this is not particularly funny. The disrespect shown to the President and to the Office of the Presidency is mind-blowing.
Mr. Orthmann’s motivation was clear: to demean and to delegitimize the duly elected President of the United States. It’s the same despicable thinking that gives rise to statements like, “He’s not my President,” and to the Undocumented Worker and Go Back to Kenya signs that we’ve seen at the Teabagger’s Hatefests.
Somehow, I suspect that Mr. Orthmann would have failed to find it humorous if, say, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, someone had hung a photo like this one….
all in good fun, of course.