As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Sasha and Malia in the Public Square

Here’s another example of why President Obama should stop bringing his children before the public.

Obama frequently talks about his kids, and they appear in White House approved photos. I’m sure at least part of this is that, as a loving dad, he just sees them as an extension of himself. But since everything he does bears scrutiny, and since they are arguably also being used toward a political end, their profile raises difficult questions about how they should be handled by the media and whether they will be cast in a negative light as part of the public conversation.

Obama mentioned in his Today Show interview this morning that though they are wonderful students, Sasha and Malia would, like any kids, be happy to spend unlimited time watching TV.

Here’s what Obama gets for putting his kids forward. One Kelly Burnett, a questioner in some kind of studio audience NBC set up, asked the president:

“I wanted to know if you think that Malia and Sasha would get the same kind of education at a DC public school compared to the elite private academy that they’re attending now.”

That’s an implicit put down.

Obama tried to sound like he didn’t mind. “Thanks for the question, Kelly,” he responded, when you know he’d rather have said, “Why don’t you go jump in front of a yellow taxicab, Kelly.”

Obama, with the money he has, would of course be guilty of parental malpractice if he put his kids in the DC public school system instead of an “elite private academy,” – and the more elite the better, by the way.

And Obama answered the question honestly, noting the problems with the DC schools. I like that Obama didn’t even make a show of the idea that he might try to send them to a public school out of a sense of fairness. President Carter of course dumped poor Amy into the DC system.

I don’t remember any critical questions about Chelsea’s education at Washington’s Sidwell Friends School, the same elite academy Sasha and Malia are now attending. That’s because, as a White House reporter covering Clinton, I hardly knew she existed.

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7 Responses to Sasha and Malia in the Public Square

  1. I suppose some of this animosity comes from the Obama administration’s ending vouchers for DC kids and thus ended their chance of getting an elite academy education.

    You’re right, though, that the Obamas can’t have it both ways. The idea that the kids are off limits except when The Royal Ones want to talk about them is ridiculous. For instance, if Malia and Sasha weren’t in the public eye, the speculation would never have begun that Malia’s camp month was actually a remedial tutoring camp. If Sasha hadn’t been dragged along to justify Michelle Antoinette’s Spanish tour, no one would be pointing how how chunky she has become (and at any rate, the tour turned out to be a “dear bereaved friend consolation tour).

    The Obamas really need to stop acting like spoiled kids (and I am not talking about their daughters) ramming around, changing the story and the rules every five minutes.

  2. Oh, don’t EVEN on DC schools! We went the rounds of the privates–not that we could afford them, but we applied. We were wait-listed at Georgetown Day. They never called. At Beauvoir, I remember peeking in the dining room during our site visit–an elderly African-American man in a tan jacket was making the rounds of tables and putting a roll at each place. They were being served! The kids were not in there at the time, but that image bugged me. We moved to Reston and she had another yr of paid day care–then I moved back to DC and made sure I was in the John Eaton School justidiction–we have very mixed experiences there…some horrible. They didn’t teach multiplication tables–you were supposed to do that at home, make flash cards yourself. I did a math newsletter for parents…on my own time–they would not pay me. Finally in 5th grade, I put her in parochial school, until 8th grade, when we moved to AZ. Parochial HS was beyond my means and I needed to take care of my mother, too. So I left my entire life and came to the desert. Here was awful HS-wise…but that is another whole story. Schools! The president said he would “maneuver” to get his kids into a good school–I guess much as Mexican parents “maneuver” to get their kids a better life. In DC, that maneuvering meant staying in line for a day or so, overnight, to get an out of district placement. And I guess those vouchers, while they lasted, were good. Now DC is all het up over Michelle Rhee’s “reign” maybe ending…oh, who knows…why can’t we teach kids anything? This is all stupid!

  3. Lordy, lordy. The O should never talk without his telepromter.

    The President’s children should not be in any public school, especially the DC schools. They should be where they are protected from public scrutiny and all kinds of nasty people, including the paparazzi who would hound the children continually. O might have said “for security reasons” they are in a private school, or something like that.

    Both of the O’s are guilty of using their children as photo props and talking points.

  4. Speaking of security in schools, I was at GW at the same time as Lynda Byrd Johnson and she once stepped on my toe and her SS guy leaned over and said, “She is very sorry.”

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