We understand the frustration some had with George W. Bush, but when we remember the guy, we remember him getting choked up a lot, eyes wet and rimmed red. That’s how he looked with that girl who lost her mother on 9/11, and that’s how he looked on top of the debris at Ground Zero. Say what you will about the man, he was one of us, an American who loved his country and cared about people. With Reagan, well, it came through every day, didn’t it? (Actually, even though we never cared for his policy proposals, come to think of it, Walter Mondale even felt American. Wrong, but American.)
So, what is it about this guy that’s different? He seems downright alien. And it’s more than the “Mr. Spock” persona. It’s more than all the bowing to potentates, too, come to think of it.
On Memorial Day, the one day a year when presidents get to truly look presidential, Barack Obama wasn’t laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Instead, he went back to Chicago for a barbecue. Never mind that the country remains at war, its troops taking losses every week: The Commander in Chief was getting himself some much-needed R&R.
It didn’t make sense to us then. Even if he feels as little for this country as it really, sometimes, seems he does, one would expect him to appreciate the political value of such symbolism.
But this week, he did it again. Now, instead of giving a casual F.U. to our troops, it’s the Boy Scouts. Perhaps you’ve seen them: earnest young men in khaki shirts, doing good turns daily, living according to something called the Scout Law, helping little old ladies across the street, things like that.
It seems that the Boy Scouts of America turn 100 this year. It also seems that every four years the hold a jamboree, a big camping trip attended by tens of thousands of Scouts from around the country. And they hold it in Virginia, which, last time we checked, is pretty close to the White House.
It also seems that presidents frequently go to these jamborees and address the Scouts. George W. Bush did it. Bill Clinton did it. George H.W. Bush did it… You get the idea. Not our Barry, though. He’s got better things to do: taping an episode of “The View,” holding a fundraiser... (Incidentally, this isn’t like the fundraising the Scouts do to pay for service projects in their communities. It’s a different kind.)
Which returns us to our central thesis. The Boy Scouts are kinda all-American, ya know? Honoring the war dead on Memorial Day—again, kinda all-American. This guy did neither.
So, if those things are all-American, what’s that make Barry?