Maybe Barack Obama’s feints to the right will benefit him politically, maybe they’ll offend liberals who believed he really was a different kind of politician. Maybe the swing voters Obama is wooing with his less-liberal rhetoric are no longer paying attention by the time he lurches back to the left.
But one thing is clear: Obama isn’t as deep a policy thinker as his admirers pretend. Many of his issue positions, evolving and otherwise, scarcely make sense.p>Take for example his recent pronouncements on official English initiatives. Plenty of voters, including sensible moderate swing voters and culturally conservative Democrats, think bilingual education is an ineffectual boondoggle and that the government should conduct its business in English. Many La Raza-style interest groups and multicultural liberals feel differently. Rather than alienate either constituency, Obama spewed incoherent mush: br> /p>
You know, I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about, “We need to have English- only.” They want to pass a law, “We want English-only.”br> Sounds reasonable enough to a soccer mom who wants her child to be competitive in the global economy, right? Except that the “English-only” policies Obama is condemning have nothing to do eliminating foreign-language instruction in public schools. There are no Minutemen patrolling high school hallways and reporting Mrs. Smith’s French class. The actual debate has much more to do with whether immigrants and their children will learn English, as Obama purports to favor.
Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about, how can your child become bilingual? We should have every child speaking more than one language.
You know, it’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say [is], “Merci beaucoup.”
Many bilingual education programs are premised on the idea that a child must become proficient in his native tongue to learn a new language. Critics argue that such programs deny children an opportunity to develop English skills at a young age when doing so is easiest. As John J. Miller put it, “One of the sad results of bilingual education is that it often leaves kids semi-literate in two languages and fluent in none.”p>Yet at least this exercise in sloppy centrism was superficially plausible. Less so was Obama’s attempt to reconcile contradictory statements on abortion policy. He told Relevant , a Christian magazine, that he did not believe “mental distress” was a valid exception to state late-term abortion bans: br>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?