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Move Over, Barack Obama: Sasha and Malia Should Write Their Own Book

4 years ago
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It's an official presidential Catch-22.
Parents who are politicians face an eternal struggle -- forging a proper path between possibly exploiting their children for votes versus completely shielding them from scrutiny.
Barack and Michelle Obama have always stressed that they want their daughters, Malia and Sasha, to have a normal childhood. Well, as normal as two girls can have living in the most famous house in Washington, enjoying vacations on Martha's Vineyard, and meeting celebs like teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
The two first daughters are seldom in the spotlight. Their school events are closed to the press. Reporters who travel with the president are placed in holding pens far away from the first daughters. The reporters seldom even catch a glimpse of the kids to know whether they are wearing J. Crew, funky kicks or trendy Silly Bandz, those rubber bracelets that kids in Malia and Sasha's age group adore.
With so much ado about privacy, why did Barack Obama decide to put two girls on the cover of his forthcoming children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters?" The book, aimed at children age 3 and up, is tribute to 13 Americans, including artist Georgia O'Keeffe, baseball legend Jackie Robinson, and George Washington.
According to Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet, Malia and Sasha will be represented on the cover in an impressionistic image by children's illustrator Loren Long, who produced the art in the 40-page book.
The cover is viewed as hypocritical to some.
Washington Examiner's Bryon York wrote in a post titled "Obama's kids are so off-limits they're on the cover of his new book," that Obama has both observed and ignored the daughters' off-limit rule. York recounts that in August 2009, a nutrition advocacy group placed posters in Washington featuring a young girl – not either Obama daughter. The caption read: "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?" The White House soon called asking that the posters be taken down.
Obama's opponents, from the Tea Party to Glenn Beck, will likely have a field day with the new book, believing Obama has given them permission to discuss Sasha and Malia. They will rationalize: If Obama can do it, why can't we?
Obama often mentions his children in speeches. The latest time was on Tuesday in a back-to-school speech in Philadelphia. Obama told middle school students at Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, "Over the past few weeks, Michelle and I have been getting Sasha and Malia ready for school. And they're excited about it. I'll bet they had the same feelings that you do -- you're a little sad to see the summer go, but you're also excited about the possibilities of a new year."
When Bill Clinton was president, Scholastic published a book "Dear Chelsea: Letters from kids and what it's like to live in the White House." The 1994 paperback cover featured a picture of Chelsea wearing braces with her trademark flowing curly hair along with a picture of Socks the Cat. The editor, Judy Goldberg, asked children to write to Chelsea; excerpts from the 12,000 letters became a book that also featured facts about the White House and presidential history.
Perhaps the Obama girls should be trailblazers and write their own book. After all, they are the first black children to live in the White House. Sure, they didn't ask to live there, but they have a beautiful story to tell. Imagine how enlightening such a book could be for so many children. Like their father, they, too, could donate their royalties to charity. (Obama has said he will donate proceeds to a scholarship fund for military children with a parent who was killed or disabled.)
Parents know what's best for their children. The Obamas strive for normalcy in the most abnormal of worlds. It pays in this age of blogs and 24/7 media for the couple to keep tight control on the coverage of Malia and Sasha. One awkward move by the daughters and Obama's critics would manufacture a hateful controversy that would unfairly spin for days.
But it would be worth the gamble for the Obamas to loosen up just a tad on the press blackout cloaking Malia and Sasha. Malia and Sasha could be fantastic role models for other kids, showing them how to garden or feed the homeless. And they might just neutralize some of the harsh criticism facing Obama during midterm elections.
Filed Under: Woman Up

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"Here's the plan, It's bait... some pundit will take it and make insensitive comments about the Obama girls, the President will then fire back with righteous indignation. The public will sympathize with the angry father over the hack comedian, giving the American people a new narrative for which to view his struggle with the Right Wing. It worked for Clinton." ~ someone will say this on an important blog or cable news program

September 16 2010 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Our president publishes a precious book he wrote before he came into office and you people search for and publicize the nasty petty criticism, the phony outrage and swinish sarcasm of the conservatives, then you coyly equivocate that just maybe the conservatives go a little overboard on "the battered, pre-maturely grey president" Face it! If the Virgin appeared in the white house lawn supporting an Obama initiative your people would challenge her demanding real answers on the "virgin birth question" Your media and the majority of the narrow minds that follow you prove that Europe did'nt fill America from the top down...

September 15 2010 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a serious, non political question. Is it accetable for the president of the United States to be making money from outside sources while actually holding office? Have other presidents done so? Will he be donating all proceeds to charity and if he does, would that make this more palatable? If this IS outside the mainstream actions of a sitting president, where is the line drawn on making money from outside projects while in office? My personal opinion is that he should have waited until he was out of office to write and publish a book of any kind.

September 15 2010 at 3:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mxoverdriv's comment

We may safely assume that JFK continued to collect the royalties due him on "Profiles In Courage" during his time in office.

September 21 2010 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The girls were at every speech on Obama's campaign trail before he was elected--guess it was OK then? but not OK now? I'd love to see him write about all their travels and all the countries they visited on the taxpayers expense. Maybe with the proceeds from the book, he could pay back the taxpayer for the cost of all their travels for the past 2 years.

September 15 2010 at 5:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every one makes much to do about nothing. Obama is not using his girls to do anything. This is just your opinion, and I wish that all this hatred would stop and the american people get down to the real issues..He is not expoliting his kids, he writing a book to kids, which is something a log of fathers should do.. All of you that just have ro critize, get over it and get a life...

September 14 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chu64380's comment

CHU,Instead of writing books which will bring him lots of money. Obama should be addressing the REAL issues. He wasn't elected to write books. Fulfulling a contract......right

September 15 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This is plain silly. No he is not expoiting his daughters. They seem to be lovely well-adjusted all-American girls. OK he used an impressionistic illustrator's picture of them on the cover in profile to fulfill a book contract he agreed to before he was elected. I say if it is OK with their Mom it is OK with me.

September 14 2010 at 7:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I think it's horrible to say that using the Obama girls to help neutralize the harsh critics of Obama. Can't he stand on his own record? If he can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. To use little girls like this would be sick in my opinion. It's not their job to prop up their father's tarnished image and besides that nothing can help him now.

September 14 2010 at 6:36 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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