Willie Brown on the Gates kerfuffle

Willie Brown is one of the smartest politicians out there.  He’s been in the business since the 1960s and, not coincidentally, has broken a whole lot of color barriers.  While he is a die-hard Democrat, he’s also nobody’s fool.  Here’s his take on the Gates kerfuffle.

America got a good look at the Chicago side of Barack Obama last week, and boy did it set off fireworks.

I don’t want to second-guess Obama, and Lord knows I’m not one to criticize someone for shooting from the lip. But I think saying that the white cop in Cambridge, Mass., who arrested Harvard black studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. “acted stupidly” was a bit over the top.

Normally, the president is far more diplomatic than that. But in this case, Obama was outraged that Gates was treated as a suspected criminal at his own home, and diplomacy went right out the window.

I know Skip Gates well. He’s a small person physically, less than 150 pounds wet, but he is very big when it comes to militancy.

For many years, Gates has been one of the strongest academic voices on the black experience in this country. But, like many academics, Skip may not have had a lot of personal experience when it comes to dealing with cops.

Now he can write about the subject forever, having met up with them full force in his own living room.

I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop.

The only thing that surprised me about the incident was that he didn’t have a video camera going.

I agree completely with the way in which Brown characterizes Gates’ response as a combination of ingrained identity politics militancy and academic arrogance. The same is true, of course, of Obama’s response, although Brown is too tactful (deferential?) to say so.