Dana Perino, Who Didn't Know What the Cuban Missile Crisis Was, Is Mad at Jay-Z

And she's rapping about it, horribly.
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Earlier today, I wrote about Jay-Z's pretty solid diss track on Republicans furious at his trip to Cuba. Now, whether he and Beyonce should have gone to Cuba is a question that's up for debate, but his critics should be careful about how they conduct that debate. For example, Jay-Z is arguably the greatest rapper of all time. It's a very bad idea to meet him on his ground, especially if you're a middle-aged former Bush press secretary. And yet here's Dana Perino on Fox's The Five:

Man, was that awful.

It's a mystery to me why aging white pundits think it's a good idea to rap, ever, but what's striking is how none their stylistic approach suggests that none of them has listened to any actual hip-hop since Run-DMC was in their prime. They also always -- always -- start off by declaring their name. Please stop, pundits.

It's particularly rich for Perino to be lecturing anyone on Cuba. Here's Peter Baker back in 2007:

Still looking for that last-minute Christmas gift for White House press secretary Dana Perino? May we recommend a gift certificate for the forthcoming book on the Cuban Missile Crisis by our colleague Michael Dobbs, "One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War," due out next summer?

Appearing on National Public Radio's light-hearted quiz show "Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me," which aired over the weekend, Perino got into the spirit of things and told a story about herself that she had previously shared only in private: During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and she didn't know what it was.

"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis," said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

So she consulted her best source. "I came home and I asked my husband," she recalled. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.' "

Oh, Dana, indeed.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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