It's not fun to criticize Barack Obama anymore now that everyone"s doing it. Even cautionary blog posts used to feel like a wonderfully lonely place, particularly if you live around San Francisco or on HuffPost.
I warned early on about the dangers of over-stimulating the public expectation gland. You can chummy-up the media all you want but even hookers draw lines in the bed sheets when it comes to being over-used and underpaid.
Hypocrisy is often the one unforgivable sin in politics, as opposed to lying, cheating, stealing and indictment. But dashing the exuberant enthusiasm you created around yourself could be way up there on the list of public service felonies.
Forget Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, not that it's possible. Now we even have local novelist and confirmed progressive Anne Lamott writing witty and literary slams on the president. About the only thing left would be a grade-school Vanity Fair tell-all from one of Sasha or Malia's classmates. ("He's never home for dinner! And he wears Versace pajamas!")
The shock value in taking on the new Camelot has been trampled into the dull thud of recognition and repetition from all sides.
So I was ready to move on. But damn if he didn't set me off like a North Carolina fundamentalist preacher rocket with this education speech business.
It's not about peddling socialism, or "using students as junior lobbyists" (Michelle Malkin) or even pushing "President-worship onto 50 million captive schoolchildren" (David Boaz), though there's been plenty of worshiping already going on.
It's this: Barack Obama has revealed himself as an educationist, deeply discriminating against dropouts like, well, me. OK, I'm hardly the best case in point. But what about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made kajillions off an idea that hasn't taken in a dime of profit? Or Bill Gates, number one once again on the richest person list in his eternal bumper car mogulism competition with Warren Buffet (and Mr. Gates sells real stuff.) Or Woody Allen? Or Richard Avedon (his exhibit is right down the street at SFMoma)? Or Steve Jobs? Or President Andrew Jackson?
"No matter what you want to do with your life," Mr. Obama said, "I guarantee you'll need an education to do it. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. If you quit on school, you're quitting on your country." Oh yeah. Tell that to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who dropped out of the University of North Texas. Or maybe that's author Jane Austen, who took a hike in elementary school.
I know there are other great examples, but I don't read very much, and never remember what I do read, so you'll have to do your own Googling on this. There's actually a Web site, but it had too many big words so I quit halfway through.
There was even an effective broadcast ad today showing pre-teen kids in orange prison jumpsuits warning from the penitentiary yard about the perils of a foreshortened education. Hey! I'm not in prison. Yet. I am in the newspaper business, though, which can feel a little grim and confining these days (despite a rare plug in the president's address). But I'm not in prison.
In the meantime, all those White House Harvard smarties can't even concoct a simple speech to kids without stepping in poo. The Bay Bridge guys who undersold their repair timetable could teach the over-educated Obama braniacs something about the value of lowering expectations.
"Find an adult you trust," Mr. Obama said in his appearance this morning. Exactly.
"He's the only one we've got," a citizen was quoted as telling the AP in a story about Obama at eight months in office. But, as John McCain said, he's THAT one.
I agree with Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead, who said on her Twitter yesterday when the advanced text of the battered Obama stay-in-school speech was released: "YOU WON. QUIT GIVING CAMPAIGN SPEECHES AND LEAD."