President Barack Obama set a new standard Wednesday for stupidly exploitative White House events by appearing onstage with children to unveil his gun control proposals.
He quoted from letters that the kids had written him. He invoked their Solomonic authority: “Their voices should compel us to change.” He signed executive orders as they gazed on adoringly. He hugged and high-fived them.
No doubt every parent thinks their little Johnny or Sally is the next James Q. Wilson. That doesn’t make it so. Some of the wisdom that the president shared from his adorable pen pals was, “I love my country and [I] want everybody to be happy and safe,” and “We should learn from what happened at Sandy Hook … I feel really bad.”
News flash: Kids don’t want bad things to happen. This would be a genuinely useful insight … if we could write public policy in crayon. The White House event smacked of the old unilateral disarmament campaigns of the 1980s when we were supposed to get rid of our nuclear weapons because they scared youngsters.
We can safely assume that the kids onstage with Obama don’t have a fine-grained sense of the limits of gun control or a proper regard for the Second Amendment. That’s OK, though — neither does he.