When Americans tell their children about the special nature of our country, one of the first things they hear is that anyone can grow up to the President of the United States. Most kids think this is pretty cool, but apparently not all of the cool kids:
Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, “No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.”
When I wrote about this on Friday, I mentioned that the anecdote comes from the New York Times, but it’s worth pointing out again. The reporters put it at the end of a piece intended to evoke sympathy for the difficulties Barack Obama faced in trying to respond to the wave of unrest sweeping through Arab nations, allies and antagonists alike. The reporters apparently feel the same way Obama does, as they didn’t seem to appreciate the way that particular sentiment would resonate with middle Americans who read far enough down into the story — the very last sentence — to learn about it.
It’s a dumb thing to say, even if borne from a moment of frustration. The fact that administration sources felt the need to share the story, and that the Times found it a sympathetic moment, says quite a bit about the culture in both places.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!