Obama excoriated absentee fathers during his father’s day sermon today in a speech that sounded eerily like Laura Ingraham, minus the batshit lunacy:
“Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes,” Mr. Obama said, to a chorus of approving murmurs from the audience. “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”
Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who sat in the front pew, Mr. Obama laid out his case in stark terms that would be difficult for a white candidate to make, telling the mostly black audience not to “just sit in the house watching SportsCenter,” and to stop praising themselves for mediocre accomplishments.
“Don’t get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation,” he said, bringing many members of the congregation to their feet, applauding. “You’re supposed to graduate from eighth grade.”
“But we also need families to raise our children,” he said. “We need fathers to realize that responsibility doesn’t just end at conception. That doesn’t just make you a father. What makes you a man is not the ability to have a child. Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”
I have long respected Obama’s unhesitating willingness to say what might be a hard truth for some to hear, particularly when he does so directly to that audience (Note: I’m not sure how many absentee fathers were in Apostolic Church of God on Father’s Day). To me this is further evidence he knows his audience reaches larger than to the group he is speaking to. I also think this is another dog whistle to evangelicals. While I don’t think Obama will take this demographic, he may be able to siphon off enough of them to negate their advantage in erasing his huge leads in young voters and other groups.