The Administration

Obama’s ‘Teachable Moment’

As President Barack Obama prepares to welcome Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Mass., Police officer Sgt. James Crowley to the White House, much of the country is questioning what could come from the meeting.

The short answer: not much.

Of course, the meeting had to happen. Once Obama even mentioned it as a possibility, the meeting — at what Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer are calling “the picnic table of peace” — was a foregone conclusion.

The name alone suggests there will be little substance to the meeting. Sure, we can expect some typically lofty rhetoric from Obama on racial profiling (which is a legitimate issue) and words like “healing” to be used. But once the photo-op is done, it’s done.

In 1976, Frank Sinatra orchestrated a somewhat similar reunion when he surprised Jerry Lewis by bringing Lewis’s long-estranged comedy partner, Dean Martin, with him to the MDA Telethon. It was a nice moment, one that was all the talk of the media and the nation. But once they walked offstage, there was to be no Martin-Lewis reunion show or tour.

If we’re to take away anything from tonight’s meeting — other than the fact that Obama turned the nation’s attention away from his healthcare proposal for more than a week (an eternity in the 24-hour news cycle) — it’s what Obama might call a “teachable moment”: that before offering an opinion on a controversial subject, the president should know what he’s talking about.

Tags Barack Obama

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