Sherriff Defends His Assassination Joke by Pointing Out He Didn’t Write It

So ... that's not really a defense then?

Joe McDonald, the Plymouth County Sheriff under fire from liberal blogs for recycling a tired joke suggesting President Obama might do the country a favor by getting assassinated, is now defending himself by pointing out that … other people have also told this joke.

As we noted earlier today, McDonald’s joke is, in fact, not very original. In the set up, a sitting president is visited by the ghosts of three former presidents who give him advice on how best to improve America. The final ghost, Abraham Lincoln, suggests the current president “go to the theater,” alluding to the place where Lincoln himself was shot in the head. It’s a set-up that’s been used on many a president before Obama. Jumping on that point, McDonald doesn’t apologize, but instead uses this as a defense of sorts. According to the Patriot Ledger:

“It was absolutely in jest,” McDonald said. “It was a joke. It wasn’t a new joke by any means.”

McDonald, elected sheriff in 2004, said references to Lincoln’s assassination in a theater have been used to make fun of the sitting President’s job performance since the late 19th century.

More recently, McDonald said Democrats made plenty of jokes about former President George W. Bush, a Republican, being shot. For example, he recalls some people suggesting that Bush should go hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney, who infamously shot one of his hunting partners in the face in 2006.

What it seems like McDonald is getting at here is the suggestion that blogs like Blue Mass Group and Think Progress aren’t fairly applying the same standards of outrage when they call for his resignation but sit quietly by as assassination jokes about Republicans go unpoliced.  While that might be true, it’s not exactly a sound argument for why McDonald was right to make the joke in the first place. As the folksy lawyer in Lincoln might point out, this is the logical equivalent of getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and then selling out your sibling for having taken a cookie too. [Patriot Ledger]