Charlotte Hays

What in the president's view is the path to success? Answering this question brings me back to a gathering I covered during the 2008 campaign, when Mrs. Obama met with women in Richmond.

The women were invited to share Kleenex tissues and hard luck stories (some of the hard luck, I thought ungenerously, sounded awfully self-inflicted) about life in George Bush’s darkling America (times that are looking better now, but that’s another story). Mrs. Obama, not one to omit her own hardships, chimed in about her and her husband’s college loan debt.

But she admitted, "Barack and I had world-class educations" and "otherwise we wouldn't be here." As I noted back then, it made me wonder: Could the fragile Obama promise not have withstood, say, a large state university?

I imagine President Obama believes that his children will be okay not only because their father is the most powerful man in the world but because they go to the right schools. I hope there were a few self-made millionaires in the room when he made that statement, people who rose through the ranks, shaking their heads in disbelief. I imagine that some recent graduates—yes, even of our nation's most prestigious universities—who are today struggling to find employment were certainly shaking their heads, mournfully question the value of a college degree that seems increasingly irrelevant to the modern economy.

Tragically, Mr. Obama and many who share his values already are living in gated communities of the mind. They see themselves as separate from the rest of the country. Why, they don’t even need the votes of the yucky white working class to get re-elected! They’ll be okay if the country goes down the tubes because they are special.

But here’s the catch, Mr. President: Your kids won’t be okay if America fails.

If America fails, all of us, including your children, will live in a more dangerous world where economic opportunity and freedom are reduced, even for kids who have all the advantages.


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.