A recent Republican campaign ad sarcastically described as Barack Obama's "one accomplishment" his supporting a bill to promote sex education in kindergarten.
During an interview of a Republican spokesman, Tom Brokaw of NBC News replayed that ad and asked if that was something serious to be discussed in a presidential election campaign.
It was a variation on an old theme about getting back to "the real issues," just as Brokaw's question was a variation on an increasingly widespread tendency among journalists to become a squad of Obama avengers, instead of reporters.
Does it matter if Barack Obama is for sex education in kindergarten? It matters more than most things that are called "the real issues."
Seemingly unrelated things can give important insights into someone's outlook and character. For example, after the Cold War was over, it came out that one of the things that caught the attention of Soviet leaders early on was President Ronald Reagan's breaking of the air traffic controllers' strike.
Why were the Soviets concerned about a purely domestic American issue like an air traffic controllers' strike? Why was their attention not confined to "the real issues" between the United States and the Soviet Union?
Because one of the biggest and realest of all issues is the outlook and character of the President of the United States.
It would be hard to imagine any of Ronald Reagan's predecessors over the previous several decades-- whether Republicans or Democrats-- who would have broken a nationwide strike instead of caving in to the union's demands.
This told the Soviet leaders what Reagan was made of, even before he got up and walked out of the room during negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev. That too let the Soviet leaders know that they were not dealing with Jimmy Carter any more.
There is no more real issue today than "Who is the real Barack Obama behind the image?" What does being in favor of sex education in kindergarten tell us about the outlook and character of this largely unknown man who has suddenly appeared on the national scene to claim the highest office in the land?
It gives us an insight into the huge gulf between Senator Obama's election year image and what he has actually been for and against over the preceding decades. It also shows the huge gulf between his values and those of most other Americans.
Many Americans would consider sex education for kindergartners to be absurd but there is more to it than that.
What is called "sex education," whether for kindergartners or older children, is not education about biology but indoctrination in values that go against the traditional values that children learn in their families and in their communities.