Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
The White House website could be a great help to students writing term papers on past presidents, as it includes concise biographies of each, from George Washington to the current incumbent.
But President Obama garnered a measure of disapproval last week for additions to the past-presidents’ site that compared his actions and attributes favorably with those of his predecessors.
The biographies of several chief executives were followed by “Did you know?” paragraphs extolling Obama. For example, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s bio, Obama’s minions added that “on August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Today the Obama Administration continues to protect seniors and ensure Social Security will be there for future generations” (White House emphasis).
One may question the propriety of such self-referential – indeed, self-congratulatory – material, appended as it is to otherwise straightforward narratives by the likes of distinguished historian Michael Beschloss and the late White House correspondent Hugh Sidey. But we’re glad the additions are there, as they illuminate the real Barack Obama and the kind of people with whom he surrounds himself.
However, “Did you know?” is a work in progress, for many of the presidential biographies lack this contemporary embellishment. Indeed, the addenda are heavily weighted toward the presidents of the 20th century. We’d like to help the Obama administration with this project, adding our own “Did you knows?” to the neglected biographies. Thus:
James K. Polk acquired New Mexico and California after the crippling defeat of Mexico by force of arms.
Did you know President Obama’s administration has crippled Mexico by practically forcing arms on the drug cartels?
Millard Fillmore,“in his rise from a log cabin to wealth and the White House … demonstrated that through methodical industry and some competence an uninspiring man could make the American dream come true.”
Did you know that through labor union industry and campaign competence, an inspiring speaker like Barack Obama could become president of the United States?
“Rutherford B. Hayes “insisted that his appointments must be made on merit, not political considerations. For his Cabinet he chose men of high caliber …”
Did you know that the “high caliber” of President Obama’s attorney general refers to “Fast and Furious” weaponry, that his Treasury secretary now opposes tax evasion and that an avowed communist no longer is a White House “czar”?
William McKinley’s “second term … came to a tragic end in September 1901. He was standing in a receiving line … when a deranged anarchist shot him twice.”
Did you know President Obama gets along very well with deranged anarchists, like those in the “Occupy” movement and past members of the Weather Underground?
Woodrow Wilson, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, suffered a stroke that rendered him an invalid until his death in 1924.
Did you know President Obama, also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, gets a stroke on every golf hole rated more difficult than his 17 handicap?
Herbert Hoover was blamed for the Great Depression.
Did you know President Obama is not culpable for the nation’s ongoing economic troubles? It was Bush! It was George W. Bush!
John F. Kennedy “(F)amously suggested the American people: ‘Ask what you can do for your country.’”
Did you know that President Obama asks what can the country do for the 48 percent of you who pay no income taxes?
President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare signed into law in 1965 – providing millions of elderly health care stability …”
Did you know President Obama plans to read his Affordable Care Act one day real soon, because somebody told him it has something to do with Medicare?
Richard Nixon had an enemies list.
Did you know that so does President Obama’s re-election campaign?
Jimmy Carter created the Department of Energy and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the development of “alternative energy.”
Did you know President Obama is spending billions of dollars on the development of “alternative energy,” with just as much success as Jimmy Carter?
Perhaps you have your own “Did you knows?” comparing Obama with past presidents. If you’d be so kind as to send them by email, we will consider them for addition to the list above.