April 9, 2011


This week President Obama replied to a man who told the president that he is hard-pressed to buy gasoline for his van that he ought to trade it in for a new car with better mileage. Obama assured him he’d probably get a great deal these days—from GM, Ford, or Chrysler, he added. The Associated Press first reported this incident and then scrubbed it from its story; most of the media did not care about it at all, because Obama is awesome.

Some might be tempted to shrug this off as an anecdote about a clueless ruler and his palace-guard press, unsympathetic to people clinging to their vans and religion. But we all occasionally say silly things—we’re only human, not sort of a deity—and it would be unfair to equate the president’s response with Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” remark, because Marie Antoinette did not actually say that.

Good point. Plus this: “So Marie Antoinette was the victim of the tea partiers of the day, who attributed to her a remark she never made. Monsieur Le Deficit, on the other hand, actually made the remark that historians will not be able to find in the Associated Press.”

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