Give Washington a Break, Mr. President

Thursday, January 29, 2009

BETTER get used to it, Mr. President -- the bully pulpit goes only so far. Some things in Washington are simply not amenable to change. We refer, of course, to the snow policy of local school systems, which tend to close at the sighting of a single flake. President Obama led off a meeting on the economy yesterday with a lament familiar to local parents: "My children's school was canceled today. Because of what? Some ice?" he said, a note of derisive incredulity creeping into his voice. "As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled. In fact, my 7-year-old pointed out, you'd go outside for recess in weather like this. You wouldn't even stay indoors."

Okay, we've done our share of complaining about hair-trigger school closings. But something, well, rankled, just a bit when this newcomer thumped his chest about "flinty Chicago toughness" and proclaimed that "when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."

In fact, Tuesday's ice produced a particularly slippery day yesterday. Mr. Obama can make pronouncements from inside his well-shoveled bubble, but we can report that it was pretty treacherous out there in the real world. School administrators who opted for closure made the right call -- this time. To the Obamas, we say: Welcome to Washington, and, hey, you have it easy. At least one parent has the flexibility to work from home.

Do you have a different view of this issue? Debate a member of the editorial board and other readers on the Editorial Judgment discussion group.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company