The right invests quite a bit of time in going after President Obama on religious grounds — Rick Perry recently promised he’ll “end Obama’s war on religion” — especially as it relates to holidays. Last month, when the president mentioned God in this Thanksgiving proclamation, but not his online Thanksgiving address, conservatives threw a fit and three different Fox News programs expressed outrage.
This month, as Eric Boehlert explained yesterday, at least some on the right have decided to flip the script — Obama is celebrating Christmas, but he’s doing so too much.
Man, this whole War on Christmas is getting confusing.
Right on cue, the right-wing media this month has been waging its annual battle to convince faithful followers that religious-hating liberals are at war with Christmas, and that once again Obama is leading the charge to demean the holiday. The evidence for those charges has always been non-existent, but the allegations, like holiday fruitcakes, keep coming.
More problematic though, is what happens when the First Family opens the White House for the season to thousands of visitors and the residence resembles a Hollywood-like Christmas wonderland?
If you’re former Los Angeles Times blogger Andrew Malcolm, you flip the script and denounce the Obamas for celebrating the Christmas season too robustly; for going overboard in a thoughtless manner.
For Malcolm, a former Barbara Bush aide, the Obamas are being ostentatious by having so many Christmas decorations, including 37 Christmas trees and a big gingerbread White House. The problem isn’t that the First Family is celebrating the holiday; the problem is they’re being showy about it.
The Republican writer recommends that the Obamas announce they’re “curtailing holiday decorations to match the sacrifices of others.” This, he says, would have been “politically astute” and “cost effective.”
Except we know better. If the First Family scaled back Christmas celebrations, there’s little doubt that Fox News would talk about little else for the next several weeks.
James Joyner, a more thoughtful conservative, added some helpful perspective.
For one thing, these Christmas trees aren’t for the Obamas. Rather, they’re for the tens of thousands of tourists who line up in the cold to tour the White House during the holidays. Indeed, precisely because of all the tourists running around, this is the part of the White House that the Obamas are least likely to use.
For another, the notion that the best thing one can do during a bad economy is to cut back on spending is remarkably counterproductive. If anything, the Obamas should be laying on more Christmas trees — and so should the rest of those fortunate to have jobs. That’s, after all, how people who sell and transport trees and ornaments put food on their tables. The last thing they need is for people to start cutting back in some bizarre show of solidarity.