A Democratic legislator in Tennessee, Joe Armstrong, got a call the other day from a student at UT-Knoxville who was offended because the campus bookstore was selling an item called “This is Change? Disappoint-Mints.” The label on the container had a version of the iconic blue-and-red Obama poster, leaving no question about the satirical nature of the product. Armstrong called the store to complain, and they pulled the mints:
Armstrong followed up Tuesday with a visit to the bookstore, located in the basement of the University Center, where he talked to director David Kent.
“I explained to him that I felt those mints were politically specific products that had no educational value,” Armstrong said.
“If it was a book or something of that nature, fine, but that’s sort of a discretionary product they have there. It wasn’t viewpoint neutral. It was very specifically insulting to the president.”
HotAir.com’s Ed Morrissey points out something important:
Had this been a private citizen complaining to a private-sector business owner, there would be nothing wrong with it. In the private sector, customers complaints require attention if a business owner wants to keep his business open for very long. Even a boycott is a perfectly rational private-sector response to a private-sector issue, even if most boycotts are demonstrations of impotence and usually misguided. … However, that’s a far cry from a legislator telling a state facility to take something off the shelves because it offends his partisan leanings.
Morrissey also points out that Armstrong had no problem a few years ago with the same bookstore at the same university was selling “National EmbarrassMints” with George Bush’s likeness on the label.
Armstrong must have missed that class in school when they defined the terms “consistency” and “hypocrisy.”
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