Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stephen L. Carter - Obama's White House Can't Take a Joke

Stephen L. Carter, a writer and law professor at Yale University says
the Obama's White House can't take a joke -- even when Obama makes it.

There’s a poignant moment midway through Ron Chernow’s superb biography of George Washington when the father of our country, struggling to make his Mount Vernon plantation profitable after the war, writes fretfully to a friend that he knows no more “than the man in the moon where I am going to get money to pay my taxes.” Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning volume spends a lot of time on Washington’s life at Mount Vernon between generalship and presidency, and the image of constant financial struggle helps to humanize a man who has been the subject of so much hagiography.

This bit of history comes to mind after the White House’s silly decision to edit out of the transcript of President Barack Obama’s recent remarks in Chicago a reference to “unpaid bills.” According to news articles, Obama gave the crowd this report on his visit to his pre-White House home: “Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there's still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills. I think eventually they got paid -- but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”

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