Obama Challenges Charlie Brown, Christmas, For the Spotlight

Photo used under a Creatives Commons license by Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/" target="_blank">kevindooley</a>

For many Americans, December 1 was a night to crowd around the fireplace, drink hot cider, and treat themselves to a once-a-year viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. But that very same night also featured a major policy speech by President Obama on the war in Afghanistan. Coincidence?

Arlington, Tenn. mayor Russell Wiseman doesn’t think so. Taking out his channel-surfing frustrations on (where else?) Facebook, Wiseman saw the speech’s timing as a carefully crafted ploy to blur the true meaning of Christmas:

“Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch ‘The Charlie Brown Christmas Special’ and our muslim president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose” [sic].

As tends to happen, Wiseman issued a not-so-apologetic apology yesterday, calling his Facebook note “a poor attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor amongst friends.” Since when do politicians with social networking pages assume that what they post is just among friends? It’s not all bad news for the mayor, though. In fact, he seems well on his way to becoming the next Joe Wilson: The Memphis Commerical-Appeal notes that the statement has already inspired calls for a Palin-Wiseman ticket in 2012. His supporters have even crafted a can’t-lose campaign slogan: “We support Russell Wiseman and Sarah Palin because they stand up for liberty, Charlie Brown, and Christmas.”

If Obama’s plan is to drown out popular movies with policy speeches, he’d better buy Jon Favreau a fresh case of Sparks and start thinking seriously about tort reform and farm subsidies: ABC Family is currently on day 8 of its programming spectacular “25 days of Christmas” (mark your calendars: The Santa Clause 2 airs December 11).

So, dear readers, which Christmas special would you most like Obama to drown out next? And what should he talk about?


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

Donate Now
  • Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Reach him at tmurphy@motherjones.com.