Early in the week the Obama Campaign went out of its way to promote the idea that their man’s community service was a precedent setting thing for a presidential candidate. It may or may not have been good politics, and certainly his community work is commendable, but it reflects poor scholarship on their part and slovenly reporting on the part of the media who dutifully reported this inaccurate line.
The fact is that almost all presidents were involved in community and volunteer efforts of some sort, it is very common. It is part of the formula for power.
Washington volunteered for everything and served in unofficial and auxiliary roles, as well as his local militia. His mother, Mary, once stormed over to Mt. Vernon and prostrated herself before him, complaining that he cared for everyone else in the colonies but her and his own family. Over the years she bitterly wrote his siblings about her son’s “public involvement.”
William Henry Harrison took up the cause of veterans and literally ran his own unofficial veterans administration, serving as a postmaster, helping old friends find each other, helping orphans and widows and eventually made a political career out of it and got the government involved. The Harrison family produced two presidents. And what General Harrison did as a volunteer, soon became a part of the formula for any successful presidential candidate ever since. Even today, we argue over which candidate truly deserves the veteran’s vote.
Abraham Lincoln volunteered as an untrained militiaman in the Black Hawk wars. He was elected captain. The first time he ever got elected anything.
Teddy Roosevelt and his first wife met as trainees for missions work in their own church denomination. They both shared a desire to help the poor of the inner city.
George W. Bush famously did community work in Houston, among disadvantaged youth.
So, yes it is commendable that Barack Obama did such work, and it enriches his resume, but the national network reports that this is precedent setting for a presidential candidate are shameful. If they aren’t going to do a better job vetting the Obama Campaign propaganda dished out to them, they need to move aside and let a new generation of journalists do the job.