The administration that brought you the worst Mother's Day card since that one from Futurama has been finding all sorts of interesting ways to campaign through the White House's website. In a move that is somehow both unbelievably arrogant but also completely pointless, congratulatory statements of President Barack Obama's accomplishments have appeared in the biographies of other presidents.
Rory Cooper of the Heritage Foundation tweeted his discovery of the edits, which were then picked up by Seth Mandel at Commentary Magazine. At the bottom of the biographies of many of the presidents of the 20th Century, a "Did You Know?" bullet point attempts to tie that president to Obama's accomplishments in office.
From Calvin Coolidge:
- On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
From Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
From Ronald Reagan (!!!):
- President Reagan designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday; today the Obama Administration honors this tradition, with the First and Second Families participating in service projects on this day.
- In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.
The additions have, of course, led to a parody Tumblr featuring Obama photobombing history.
What, if anything, is the White House trying to accomplish here? Does anybody even go to the White House website to look up presidential biographies? Who is the target of this campaign? Kids whose schools won't let them use Wikipedia to write their history papers?
The biographies of the past presidents are from "The Presidents of the United States," written by Michael Beschloss and Hugh Sidey for the nonprofit White House Historical Association. Unfortunately, nobody was answering the phones at the association's office, so we don't know how they might feel about the Obama administration's self-serving additions.
And before anybody asks: No, James Buchanan's bio has not been amended to praise Obama's recent designation as the first gay president. At least not yet.