For those of us who find ourselves underwhelmed by President Obama’s ability to carry out his few Constitutionally-enumerated powers, it is no small shock to discover that he has chosen to add to his burdens by assuming the additional, not to say unenumerated, role as Blogger-in-Chief. As the incomparable Ira Stoll notes, “This is the second Father’s Day in a row that the president has sent me a Father’s Day email I disagreed with; last year’s post is here.” This year, the incumbent advises dads across the land to encourage children to “turn off the video games and pick up a book.”
Far be it for either Ira Stoll or me to utter a word against the greatest art form ever created (I refer here to books), but as Mr. Stoll—a father, himself— wisely notes, “This particular piece of one-size-fits all advice helps to make the case that the president should stick to other issues. Some children who spend too much time reading could probably use a father who tells them to take their noses out of those books and go play some video games with some other children to increase their hand-eye coordination and get some social exposure. Other children who spend too much time in sedentary activities could probably use a father who tells them to put down the book and to turn off the video game and to go outside instead and run around. But the notion that for every child and every father the correct message is turn off the video games and pick up a book is just the kind of centralized parenting approach that gives government fatherhood campaigns a bad name.”
Some might imagine that a President who can’t get anything important right (oh, you know, the economy, all those wars, and any cogent explanation for what he is doing and why) might find it prudent to steer clear of micro-mananging individual Americans’ individual child-rearing. But no, here we see yet another ace example of his characteristic blend of a know-it-all attitude with sheer cluelessness as a content-provider.
Incidentally and weirdly, this is the second consecutive Luddite comment emanating from our Backberry-wielding President in a five-day period: last Tuesday, June 14, he railed against ATM machines as devices that nefariously usurp the jobs of tellers. No bank employee has been replaced by an ATM machine in at least the last two decades: indeed, it was 42 years ago, on September 2, 1969— when the Jakarta-residing future President was a child of eight— that Chemical Bank installed the first ATM in the U.S. at its branch in Rockville Center, N.Y. Along these lines, the President might consider taking up arms against the new horseless carriages—hello?—that have taken such a grievous toll on America’s blacksmiths lo these past 100 years.
But look at it this way: Every minute he’s sending Ira Stoll emails about how best to raise his child, at least President Obama is not trying to tell the democratically-chosen Prime Minister of Israel how to do his job. Little solace, but it’s something.