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Mr. President, You are Blocking the Sun

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It is said that when Alexander the Great visited the philosopher Diogenes he asked the wise man if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes is said to have replied, “Yes. Stand a little less between me and the sun.”


I thought of Diogenes as I read portions of the president’s speech from Cleveland, Ohio. The New York Times reports that the president used the word “fight” or some version of it more than 20 times.

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Mr. Obama vowed to fight for jobs; he promised to fight for quality education; he promised to fight for health care; fight for transparency in government. He promised to fight! Fight! Fight! And never stop fighting. "So long as I have some breath in me,” he said, “so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I will not stop fighting for you."

Such pronouncements of chivalry no doubt came as a surprise to the parents and children of the opportunity scholarship program.

Also known as the D.C. voucher program, the OSP was started in 2003 as a program to provide children from low income families scholarships of up to $7500 to attend non-public K-12 schools within the district.

During the 2008-2009 school year, there were over 1,715 D.C. OSP students attending 49 non-public schools of their choice. The average annual income for these families is around $23,000.

The program was a bargain. The D.C. public schools spend $14,400 per pupil on average, among the most in the country. More importantly the program was successful. According to an evaluation conducted by the department of education, “After 3 years, there was a statistically significant positive impact on reading test scores…” as well as a “positive impact overall on parents' reports of school satisfaction and safety.”


And yet when this program came under attack from the teachers union, Obama – the people’s champion – was, along with his white horse, missing in action.

Which begs a few questions: Exactly who is the dragon preventing quality education? Job creation? Transparency in government? This just in: Dragon last seen on Pennsylvania Ave. The dragon is big government!

Is Obama preparing to battle the ever encroaching and expensive hand of paternalistic government? Hardly. Since taking office last year he has expanded government spending, tripled the deficit and added substantially to the national debt. He is ideologically predisposed to believe the solutions to all our social and economic problems lie in an expansion of the administrative state. He continues to believe that money taken from one part of the economy and injected into another part will somehow create jobs. Even after the drubbing Democrats took in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, he is determined to pass a healthcare reform bill that most Americans do not want.

If we penny stinkers must take what we do not want, it is unclear for whom he is doing all this fighting.

It is unlikely that Obama will pass Cap and Trade, so instead he will direct the EPA to enact regulations restricting the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by private industry. The additional costs to businesses will hinder their ability to create jobs. Don’t take my word for it.


In 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB-32 “a comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases.” The bill has mostly succeeded in reducing the population of California as people and jobs have left the State in droves. Unemployment in California is far above the national average and the highest in the states history in more than 40 years.

Who is he fighting for when he brings terrorists to New York to be tried in civilian courts? Undeterred by America’s outcry, the Christmas day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutalleb, was interviewed by the FBI for less than an hour before he was given his Miranda rights and an attorney, whereupon he promptly stopped talking. I feel safer already.

With such a champion, it is difficult to comprehend America’s apprehension or why some might smile pleasantly and ask, “Please Mr. President, can you move a bit to the side; you are blocking the sun.”

Joseph C. Phillips is the author of "He Talk Like a White Boy" available wherever books are sold.

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