The New Cosby Show

Obama Channels His Inner Huxtable

By Robert A. George
|  Monday, Feb 2, 2009  |  Updated 12:24 AM EDT
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The New Cosby Show

Is President Obama the new Cliff Huxtable? Both Obama and Cosby have called for black Americans to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

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Talk about bait and switch!

From the time the charismatic candidate did the classic"dirt off your shoulder" move, young, hip, Democratic voters thought they were electing the political equivalent of Jay-Z (and Michelle does have something of a Beyonce-licious quality about her).

However, the presence of Sasha and Malia --the Rudy and Vanessa of the campaign trail -- should have been clue enough as to what would eventually happen when Barack Obama made it to the White House.  Sure enough, he's showing definite signs of being more Cliff Huxtable than the Jigga Man. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- indeed, it may win him some fans among the traditionally conservative:

Wednesday, he mocked DC's inability to deal with basic winter weather:

My children's school was canceled today, because of what? Some ice," Obama said, as the room erupted in laughter.

"As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled," he continued in amazement. "In fact, my 7-year-old pointed out that you'd go outside for recess in weather like this. You wouldn't even stay indoors."

Asked if he were calling Washingtonians weather wusses, Obama gleefully responded: "I'm saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things.

He suggested further that DC needed a bit of "flinty Chicago toughness."

While the comment was said with a bit of humor, this wasn't just a one-off appearance of the "chiding Obama." In a pre-election MTV interview, rather than share his choice in underwear (as Bill Clinton did in a similar situation), he famously told black youth, "Brothers should pull up their pants," giving the current fashion trend of "showing your drawers" pants a decided thumbs down.

And, frankly, the most serious example of this was Obama's famous Father's Day speech last year, where he sent a pointed message to absentee fathers in general -- but black men, in particular -- of the need to be fully involved in their children's lives.

One could easily hear the weather and fashion comments coming out of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable's mouth.

But, the Father's Day speech could have come out of the mouth of the contemporary Bill Cosby -- the man who has been placing a harsh spotlight on black culture in recent years.

Barack Obama, cultural conservative?

And, say, hey!  Won't those Cosby sweaters keep him warm in chilly Washington, DC? 

 Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots and dabbles in stand-up comedy. 

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