President Obama will not attend ceremonies at Gettysburg later this month marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's immortal address. Thank goodness! Mr. Obama has been getting few kudos of late. His Gallup approval rating has slipped into the thirties. But in this, we can applaud his action.
It is entirely fitting and proper that he should do this. First of all, consider the expense. Mr. Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg in 1863 by rail. He took Ward Hill Lamon, a U.S. Marshal, with him. Mr. Obama would have to go by caravan with with hundreds of staffers. Just think of the gas.
Second, consider the distraction. Mr. Obama has been busy selling ObamaCare and working "24/7" on the next rollout of the Healthcare.gov website. Lincoln had that matter of Lee's army to contend with, but he had no idea of the burdens that fall to our modern presidents. The president will be laboring to assure that the November 30th deadline for a fully functional website is met.
Third, what would he say at Gettysburg? Mr. Lincoln managed to stay "on message" for all 272 words of his address. And he did this all without a teleprompter. President Obama would be strongly urged not to read out any 1-800 toll-free numbers. So what would he say?
How about: "That this government over the people, by Sebelius at HHS, under the Mandate shall not perish from the earth?" Doesn't quite have that Lincolnian ring, does it?
Now, it's not like Mr. Obama doesn't have competent help. He took five hundred staffers to London with him in 2009, including six doctors and four speech writers.
At that time, his car was flown to Britain ahead of the presidential party, as London's Evening Standard reported:
The driver of the presidential limo - Cadillac One - arrived last week to familiarise himself with driving on the left. The £300,000 rocket and bullet-proof car was flown to the UK by a US Air Force transport plane.
I wonder if he liked those six doctors. Did he get to keep them?
I remember the president bowing before the Saudi king at that G-20 Summit in London, but I'm having trouble remembering what he actually said there.
Can anyone jog my memory? With four speech writers, it should have been something special. My guess is that none of those who attended that London Summit can remember what President Obama said there. I doubt that any of the 500 staffers can remember, either.
The driver of the presidential limousine must have remembered to drive on the left, but he probably couldn't tell you what his VIP in the back seat said there.