The Arizona Republic asks for meaning behind Obama portraits

Here are my thoughts on what the Republic considers “the stuff of great debate.”

I decided even before the paintings of the former president and first lady were unveiled this week that I would not comment on them here, because art is subjective. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t comment about those who do.

The left-leaning editorial board of The Arizona Republic, in their wisdom, asked staffers of its paper to offer their comments under a full-page banner headline, “What do portraits say about us?”

Columnist Linda Valdez offered her opinion in four words – “Unexpected. Classy. Thought Provoking” – and should have stopped there. But she felt the need to tell readers how much she worshipped the Obama’s, concluding with “there’s no denying these paintings reflect the pride, creativity and resiliency of a president and first lady who got dragged through the mud and never got dirty.” Really, Ms. Valdez, on what planet have you been living?

“I’ll be honest,” wrote Joanna Allhands, “he looks like Homer Simpson disappearing into a hedge,” but in the end she asks why people can’t just say, “Nice Obama painting, and leave it at that.”

My point.

NOTE TO THE EDITORIAL BOARD: Ridiculously calling it “the stuff of great debate,” you devoted a half-page for your Opinion columnists to weigh-in on “What does the painting (of Barack Obama) – and the reaction to it – say about our country?”

You had to know that opinions would vary, even among supporters of the Obama’s. What does that say about us? I learned nothing, except that the Republic should raise the bar on Opinion page subject matter.



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