Barack Obama gave a great, Father’s Day-themed speech yesterday. Parts of it were politically easy, such as his entreaties about parental responsibility; you could easily imagine some of the words coming from the pen of conservative culture warriors.

But what was impressive is how Obama linked personal responsibility—a theme Bill “end of government as we know it” Clinton used to catapult himself nationally—directly and unapologetically to government responsibility, as in this key section:

[O]ur young boys and girls see…when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down – you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility as fathers.

And by the way – it’s a responsibility that also extends to Washington. Because if fathers are doing their part; if they’re taking our responsibilities seriously to be there for their children, and set high expectations for them, and instill in them a sense of excellence and empathy, then our government should meet them halfway.

Obama then goes on to advocate ending the marriage penalty, extending the Earned Income Tax Credit, and so on. Good stuff.

--Tom Schaller

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