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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Unpatriotic Seniors?

In 2008, seniors did not buy into Obamamania, and they remain skeptical of the president’s policies. His speech to schoolchildren will not help.

If you quit school, he tells the kids, “You’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.” Among Americans between ages 65 and 74, 20.7 percent quit before finishing high school. For those 75 and older, the figure is 27.4 percent. The latter group includes some who quit in order to enlist in the armed forces after Pearl Harbor. And yet the president seems to be calling them unpatriotic.

The president’s supporters may object that things were different in the 1940s: one could still get a good job without a high school diploma. True, but irrelevant. The president is speaking to kids, and there are very few third-graders with a good grasp of the nation’s economic and technological history. If a child’s grandparents or great-grandparents dropped out, that child may well conclude that they quit on their country.

The gaffe is understandable. Head Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau is all of 28 years old. As is the case with all White House staffs, the Obama team skews young, since the hours are too brutal for those over a certain age. One of the few seniors on the grounds is Vice President Biden, who is not famous for his ability to avoid verbal mistakes.