On Tuesday next, America's public school children will be treated to a special assembly at which the Principal-in-Chief will speak to them about the importance of education. And he means it. By itself, President Obama's speech to the children doesn't trouble me - much (however, I try to imagine the hoots and calls for impeachment if President Bush had tried the same). The President wants to tell the kids to study hard, be good, and have a great year. OK, that's not so bad.
Conservative pundits and commentators are concerned that the President wants to enlist the children in his nationwide community-organizing Administration. Even that, as self-serving as it would be, could have benefits. Kids get to learn early on about the importance of being politically active and knowing that their contribution can make a difference. I'm almost OK with that, too. My real concern is not that all the public school kids in America will go on a hunger strike until their parents pressure Congress to give Mr. Obama whatever he wants, or that Mr. Obama has plans to lower the legal age for voting to 6, or get an amendment to the Constitution allowing him to be President-for-Life.
My real concern is with what it says about Mr. Obama that he feels he has to reach his political tentacles so far down into the populace and so often. This is the most exposed President in American history. He's already had more prime time news conferences than Mr. Bush did in eight years. He spends more time in town hall meetings and galavanting around the country than at his desk thinking seriously about serious matters. Now he wants the school children of the land to make posters of him with quotes from his speeches, and to write letters to themselves describing how they can help President Obama accomplish his agenda.
Mr. Obama has pretty thin skin as it is; he doesn't like criticism or resistance (to the Bluedogs: "You're going to ruin my Presidency!"). Does he really need to be so visible, to feel so important, so wanted, so loved? One almost gets the impression - I do, anyway - that President Obama considers his first order of business each day to make sure that people know he's the President and hear what's on his mind. Such egoism is unbecoming a President of the United States. It is also unbecoming one who claims to be a Christian.
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