A Presidential Quandary

What do you think of the “New” Oval Office?

It is the President’s prerogative to redecorate ‘his’ office, and it’s pretty common occurrence.  Each president is entitled to put his stamp on the room where he will be working, where he will be hosting heads of state, holding meetings, entertaining interns, practicing his putting… ok, I’m digressing.

So the new Oval Office was unveiled recently.  New striped wallpaper, new tan suede couches, a modern-feeling coffee table, re-upholstered ‘easy’ chairs, and, of course, a new rug bearing the Seal of the President.  It’s a more subdued look, I suppose, than ones that have gone before.  A quick overview from Good Morning America: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/oval-office-makeover-before-after-11531902 (sorry for the link… I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video).

And now we get to the Great Rug Brouhaha.  Around the Great Seal are four quotes from famous men in U.S. History:

“A government of the people, by the people and for the people”- Abraham Lincoln

“No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings” – John F. Kennedy

“The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally on the welfare of all of us” – Teddy Roosevelt

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – Martin Luther King

The last quote, if you’ve been under a rug these last few weeks, was not originally said by Martin Luther King.  King did use it in his “I have a dream” speech, but it was attributed then, and now, to Theodore Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian Minister, and ‘transcendental thinker’ who lived in the 1850’s.  Obama has taken some heat for the misquote, and rightly so, since a two-minute Google Search would have avoided a very costly mistake.

Although, in Mr. Obama’s defense (mark this down, it won’t happen often), this particular detail is something that should be delegated.  Frankly, the President of the United States has bigger things to worry about than the rug on his floor – yes, it’s HIS office, and yes, he should have SOME say in the decorating, and should even sign off on the basic design and details.  But it is the responsibility of the design team to deal with details, and make sure that everything is correct – including seeing to it that there are 13 arrows in the Eagle’s talon (there are) and that any quotes are spelled correctly (they are) and attributed correctly (oops).

A further statement of defense for Obama (wow, that’s two in one shot!):  in his personal experience, the quote has always been from the “Dream” speech – this is, presumably, where Mr. Obama heard the quote, and the way it was woven into his life.  It is somewhat understandable then, that he would attribute it to King.  Although I’m also inclined to think that, if a quote makes that kind of lasting impression upon a person, that person would research it, and know the actual history of it.

So now we are faced with a new National Issue: what to do with the Oval Office Rug.  Should it be left there?  Should it be taken out and burned?  Quietly replaced with something new and the old one stashed in Nancy Pelosi’s office?

No word has come down yet, but I heard one idea on the radio recently.  The rug should be removed from the office and auctioned off, with the proceeds going to a charity.  On the surface, it seems like the perfect solution, but I see two major problems with this idea.  First, this President is extremely controversial.  What charity should benefit from the proceeds?  Can’t be Breast Cancer, thanks to the hoopla during the healthcare debacle over putting off self-exams and mammograms.  Can’t be a charity that is associated with any religion or race.  Perhaps a Military Charity, but even that might be controversial.

The second problem with auctioning off the rug?  It could very well fall into the hands of one of Obama’s Archenemies: Rush Limbaugh.  How big a coup would that be for Limbaugh, to own the rug that permanently holds a symbol of one of Obama’s most public blunders?  So maybe the charitable auction isn’t such a great idea.

What do you think?  First, what do you think of the makeover?  Is it too bland, as some have said?  Or is it appropriate for an official and business setting?  And second, what do you think should be done about the misquote on the rug?

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9 Responses to A Presidential Quandary

  1. Jason says:

    In all honesty I really have not paid this story all that much attention. I was aware of the goof. But really how often are people going to be seeing this rug in person. Judging by the photos, I would say that the tones that were picked are appropriate. If we have to get rid of the rug, I think that auctioning it off sounds like a good idea. As to what the money goes for, I think some kind of cancer research is a really good idea.

  2. SKL says:

    Personally I think they should leave the rug right where it is. That is where it belongs. A constant reminder of this administration’s tendency to screw up and to use incongruent platitudes to cover up its real agenda.

    As for the design of the oval office, I must say I really don’t care what it looks like. Presumably it will be redecorated again when he leaves (the sooner the better). The only thing I remember that was particularly offensive was that when he first moved in, one of the first things he did was ship some statue back to the UK. It was a meaningful gift to a previous president from the UK PM, I think – was it a bust of Winston Churchill? Anyhoo, he shipped it back and it was like a slap in the face, like a lot of other things he has done with our historical allies, in between bowing to China and Saudi Arabia. Who knows how many other meaningful gifts and artifacts he may have trashed in the redecorating process? I don’t think I want to know.

    I’m really behind on my news reading, so there may be some information I ought to be incensed about, but I just haven’t read it yet.

    • Laura says:

      Yes, it was Churchill, and it absolutely was a slap in the face. That still ticks me off, as does the Great Apology Tour and the whole bowing thing.

      But this? Yeah, that’s a good idea, to keep it as a symbol of the blundering.

      And no, there hasn’t been anything lately (since i read the news about fifteen minutes ago) to be incensed about, so you’re all good! (unless you count that “America can absorb another terrorist attack” quote. I’m pretty incensed about that. But that was all the way yesterday)

    • SKL says:

      Oh, another reason why this should stay where it is as a reminder. It is another illustration of the way the Obama administration is attempting to rewrite history.

  3. Joy says:

    I have to agree with Jason and SKL. I’m not knowledgeable enough on this to make an intelligent point. Sell it and give the money to charity or like SKL says, leave it there as a reminder! Honestly, I’ve only heard about this in passing. I guess also, I don’t really care what each person does to make their surroundings comfortable but I’m sure they all change some things. I’d think the personal rooms would be the ones to make the most changes in.

  4. Nikki says:

    I must be under a rug! LOL Baseball has taken over my life!!!!

    I think the new Oval Office looks good. Clean, neat, and elegant at the same time. Hmm the rug issue? I guess it doesn’t matter to me, if it stays I think it should go with him when he leaves, which is SOON I hope! Or get rid of it now, charity, garbage, closet….I guess I have no real opinion on this.

  5. mssc54 says:

    Laura… did you bump your head or something?! Let me help you out here (’cause you know I’m all about helping people).

    “Frankly, the President of the United States has bigger things to worry about than the rug on his floor”

    It may not seem like a big deal and on a single merrit it MAY not be. However, coupled with other numerous mis-steps, errors and down right lies it demonstrates a pattern. A pattern of putting in place or in the least allowing other unqualified people to do things that look nice and make you feel good simply because you like them personally or they are a friend of a friend. Placing your confidence in someone who is gets seemingly small things wrong can and obviously has lead to more dire results for US. If you can’t get the small things correct it is not likely you can get the most important things correct.

    “The last quote, if you’ve been under a rug these last few weeks, was not originally said by Martin Luther King. King did use it in his “I have a dream” speech, but it was attributed then, and now, to Theodore Parker,”

    Okay I won’t be afraid to say it. President Obama tries to give black people credit and a “let up” every chance he gets. Regardless of their qualifications he seems to look at RACE FIRST and the content of their character second (if at all). Clearly (to me) he was looking to leave a black man’s quote for all who visits the Oval Office to see. Oops!

    “The rug should be removed from the office and auctioned off, with the proceeds going to a charity.”

    SMART-ALIKEY ANSWER; The rug should be cut into small prayer rugs and donated to those who can and would use them regularly. 🙂

    SERIOUS ANSWER; If the rug is auctioned off the proceeds should go directly to the Washington DC, Child and Family services. Further stipulating that all funds MUST be spent directly on “clients.” For example buy them some clothes or food or something tangeable that they can hold in their hands. DO NOT spend the funds on upgrading some government facility or electronic system and try to tell me that by doing that you can better serve your “clients.” Bull-pucky that’s just making your lazy-ars government job easier!

    Finally, I think each and every President should be able to do what they want to do with their office. The money does not come out of public funds.

    Laura, I hope I’ve helped you see the error in your thinking here. 😉

    • Laura says:

      Thanks for the correction… I’ve got an ice pack on as we speak.

      You make a good point about him delegating to incompetents. A good, effective leader knows how to surround himself with qualified people, and makes excellent use of his delagatory powers (is “delagatory” even a word? It is now. Just call me Sarah), thereby freeing himself up to deal with the larger problems that require his – and often only his – input. But in this man’s case, he has surrounded himself with such a brown-nosing flock of incompetent sycophants, that even a quote on a rug gets messed up.

      I’m taking two aspirin and laying down, now. Maybe the stars will clear…

  6. lucy says:

    I like the new design.

    As for the rug… I think it speaks more about the incompetent design team! I highly doubt Obama had much say about WHO designed the office… so personally I don’t think its speaks to his leadership ability. But it’s definitely a big blunder.

    I don’t really care what happens to the rug… I’m sure they’ll figure something out.. and I’m also sure that someone won’t be happy about it.

    I don’t really have anything else to say… I’m too tired to argue with people about politics nowadays. 🙂

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