Obama, The View, and the Boy Scouts

on July 29, 2010 in Jamboree, National, News

I am not afraid to say it. President Obama  has lost a few points of respect with me this week when he decided to join the five hosts of The View television show instead of talking to the 40,000 Boy Scout and leaders at the BSA National Jamboree.

I know, I know. Speaking at the National Jamboree is not in the President’s job description. He only does it if he wants to do it, and if his schedule allows it. But you know, he accepted the position of the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Why wouldn’t he want to address the young men who are the future of our country. And do it live at the event?

I understand the Jamboree participants will watch a prerecorded message from President Obama. That is better than nothing. At least the Boy Scouts were worth his time to record a video.

I attended the 2001 National Jamboree. President Bush was scheduled to appear at a arena show to speak to us. Unfortunately, a storm went through the area and the show was postponed until the next evening. President Bush was not able to make it the following night so he recorded his message for us to watch on the big screens at the arena. (I personally did not mind watching the video. It saved us the time and trouble of going through presidential security.)

The difference between these two events was that President Bush made the effort to attend the Jamboree, where President Obama did not. It gives me the impression that he decided to sort of brush off the Boy Scouts.

Come on Mr. President! This is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. You had a captive audience of nearly 40,000 young men of every race and background, the future of this great country. This event was not something that just came up suddenly. The planning for this Jamboree was going on for years. You could not find the time in your schedule to address the Scouts?

Yet, you could find time in your schedule to appear on a national daily talk show, and do some fundraising. This gave me the impression that being a celebrity is more important to you then being a leader of this country. And I know I am not the only person to feel this way.

Mr. President, you could have taped your talk show interview at any time. You only have one week to speak to the young men at the 100th anniversary BSA National Jamboree. In my humble opinion, you blew it.

Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the Boy Scouts of America. I realize that not everyone shares my point of view. I also realize that the President will probably never read this blog post. But this is something that has been weighing on my mind this week so I wanted to write about it.

How to you feel about the President skipping a live appearance at the National Jamboree? Please keep your comments civil or I will delete them.

13 Responses to “Obama, The View, and the Boy Scouts”

  1. KEN K says:

    Nicely put. I’ve seen a lot of ranty rant that spewed mostly bile and a political viewpoint. Your post is well reasoned, not to mention courtuous and kind.

  2. Nick Wood says:

    Hmm, he does seem to have scored a bit of an ‘own goal’ here. As far as I can tell from a distance, he isn’t as popular as he once was and his party people are getting worried for the elections I believe you have coming up later this year.
    I guess he was advised that appearing on the talk show would be better for his image. However, upsetting 40,000 young men, who are all going to be voters sooner or later and their Leaders probably wasn’t a smart move long term. But then politics isn’t really about the long term!

    So I think the campaign for Buttons 2012 starts here then!



  3. Fred says:

    These youth want the leadership and support of their president. To heck with this era’s political controversies. Get past them. They are not part of the day to day program … or even the year to year program. Those issues are not even discussed as part of the program.

    The issues scouts focus on are character, citizenship, physical fitness … and service. What does it say to these scouts when their president chooses not to join them for one simple speech. To share his vision. To provide guidance. To provide leadership.

    40,000+ youth want to see their president and thousands of volunteer leaders want to see their president.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve B and HalfEagle Bot, Robert. Robert said: Excellent post… RT @stevejb68: A Scoutmaster's Blog – Obama, The View, and the Boy Scouts – http://bit.ly/941YO1 […]

  5. Darrin says:

    Good job!

  6. RWSmith says:

    Very well said. In fact, what I appreciate most is the fact that your sincere displeasure about the issue (that is, Mr. Obama’s choosing to “brush off” the 100th NSJ) was very well expressed, while completely avoiding pumping any (political) sewage into your post, which (let’s face it) would have only poisoned your own commentary.

    It’s refreshing to see people express their displeasure in a civil manner, and without devolving into the political morass.

  7. Ken says:

    I agree with the general sentiments, but I have trouble making the “he choose the View over the Boy Scouts.”

    That’s not exactly true. Yes he did the View, but he was in the area anyway. The conflict was a FUNDRAISER. Not a meeting with a head of state, not pressing national business, it was an election year Democrat Party Fundraiser.

    This make the issue more troubling to me than if it was just The View. The dates of the Jamboree have been known for some time. The whole “if it can fit in the schedule” is fine, if it was vital national business. This is an event that any fundraiser or TV appearance could have been scheduled around. “I’ll be speaking to over 40,000 future leaders of our country that day, you can do the fundraiser on Thursday.”

    If it was important to him, that is.

  8. Ken says:

    Oh, in the end we got a much better speaker in the for of Robert Gates. He spoke to a gathering of Eagle Scouts in my council years ago and he made quite an impression on us then. I know I certainly responded to his speech, I can only image what it was like to be there listening live.

  9. Jason R says:

    Well said! Although disappointing for the Scouts at Jambo, they are still having a life changing experience.

  10. Gary Wilson says:

    Very well said and in keeping with the Scout Oath and Law, very respectful.

    I know I still remember President Johnson addressing us at Valley Forge in 1964. That was further away and in the middle of Presidential election and he still found time to do it. My son got to see President Clinton in 1997 after he made the gaft of skipping 1993 for political reasons. Virtually every president has attempted to visit each jamboree since they’ve been clustered near DC. Its a significant time to inspire the future leaders of thsi great country.

    Rasing money for elections and hobnobbing with rich celebrities is not a very good alternative use of the Presidents time. Perhaps he will redeem himself and show up Saturday night. I’m sure BSA would accomodate him.

  11. Mike W says:

    I remember talking to some of the youth and adults that attended the last Jamboree. The complaints about the President’s visit were long and loud, including those who were supporters of President Bush.

    I was told that, because of the security involved, the attendees weren’t allowed to bring backpacks or water into the event and the temperatures were brutal then from what I was told. If I remember correctly the President was late and the attendees were stuck far longer than anticipated. With this week following a severe heat wave in the Northeast, I believe that the taped speech is a way to avoid the problems involved with a personal visit.

    Personally, I would have preferred to endure the wait if I was there, but you never can tell what was considered when planning Jamboree.

  12. Steve, very thoughtful post. I agree it is disappointing that President Obama skipped the Jamboree–mainly because this one has special significance for the Boy Scouts. Here in New York City our Mayor, who is an Eagle Scout and who I admire very much, also plans to dial it in for our Times Square Jambo on Saturday. Putting legitimate scheduling difficulties aside, the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts–which are out of line with the values of a large percentage of Americans–make it difficult for many elected officials to give their full support to the Boy Scouts. I think everybody knows this. I would have liked to hear Obama address the Scouts at the Jamboree. I would have liked him to voice his support for the best parts of Scouting–getting kids outside and active, teaching life skills and leadership, providing exceptional role models for our young people, contributing millions of hours of service to our communities and teaching both teamwork and self-reliance. Then I would have liked President Obama to remind the Scouts that they are an institution that serves a country that is big and diverse and great. And because of the BSA’s history and stature it is necessary that the Boy Scouts reconsider their policies that discriminate. Obama could have pointed to the way the military (under the leadership of distinguished Eagle Scout Robert Gates) is going through this process right now. If our President really cared about Scouts and really stood for what he believes that is the speech he would make at Fort A.P. Hill.

  13. Montana says:

    Real the “Boy scouts Jamboree”, real? Are you saying he disrespect our boys in uniform?, please. Or is he more focused on speaking to adults (The View) about what he is doing to repair our nation (those boys can’t vote, you know). And so you know (or take a look yourself) Twelve other presidents have skipped the Jamboree, including Ronald Reagan (he missed all of them), Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and yes even Dwight D. Eisenhower, among others, so, honestly, who cares, I don’t.

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