Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sitting Down, Obama Does Stand-Up

Oh, this is wrong on so many levels.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Barack Obama, he of the Hawaii upbringing and psyche, quipped

My children's school was canceled today. Because of what? Some ice? . . . We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town.

Perhaps believing that people couldn't figure out what he was getting at, the President added "I'm saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."

While the schools (Sidwell Friends, one in the Washington suburbs and the other in D.C.) attended by his children closed, District of Columbia schools, faced with snow and freezing rain, actually had a delayed opening. Nonetheless, closing schools in the District seems only sensible, given that many of its residents are from southeastern states in which snowfall is a rarity. Additionally, the city averages only 15 inches of snow annually compared to 38 inches in Chicago, yet another reason residents of the District are, understandably, less prepared for snow than residents of the upper midwest.

Perhaps Obama thought his crack would be met with approving laughter from Americans who might believe that the District's schoolchildren are the pampered offspring of the affluent. Most of those youngsters, however, attend private schools, as do the Obama daughters; the District's schools are crowded with children of the poor and working class, largely minority.

Obama's fondness for snow, fortunately, didn't get in the way of his August or December (video below) vacation in Hawaii, where there typically is as much snow in August or March as in January: that would be none. Or, as the Associate Head of School at Sidwell Friends wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post, "I suppose Sidwell Friends could merge with Punahou, move our classrooms to Hawaii and never worry about the weather again."

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