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Our Opinion: Misdirected barbs aimed at State Fair dissipate

Our Opinion: Misdirected barbs aimed at State Fair dissipate

News Tribune editorial

August 17th, 2013 in News

Despite threats of retaliation for a rodeo clown's State Fair stunt, elected officials on Thursday participated in the political pageantry that surrounds the Governor's Ham Breakfast.

The instigating antic occurred when a rodeo clown at a State Fair event donned an Obama mask and baited audience members by asking if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull."

Repercussions included suggestions by some Democratic lawmakers that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon cancel the annual breakfast at the State Fair; others requested cutting state funding for the fair.

Cynics might suggest political expediency prevailed over principled protest.

Idealists might contend common sense trumped over-reaction.

A number of elected officials - Democrat and Republican - split the difference by supporting the fair while impugning the clown.

The governor characterized the clown's stunt as "inappropriate and offensive," but added: "One action like this is not going to in any way slow down the strong progress and the vital importance that this showcase is for agriculture."

And Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said the antic was "out of line" and "disrespectful - but it shouldn't be seen as an indictment of the entire fair."

Reaction to the clown's antic has run the gamut. The stunt has been jeered and cheered. It has been perceived as pathetic, political and racist.

Our concern was the flare-up of political retaliation was misdirected at the State Fair. We're pleased cooler heads have prevailed.