Smartest President in History Botches Oval Office Rug QuoteBy Thomas Lifson
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.Except it's not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you're fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.A century later, during the civil rights movement, King, an admirer of Parker, quoted the Bostonian's lofty prophecy during marches and speeches.
My investigation into this error led me to David Remnick's biography of Obama, "The Bridge," published this year. Early in the narrative, Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, presents this as "Barack Obama's favorite quotation." It appears that neither Remnick nor Obama has traced the language to its true source.
If the president keeps it, it instantly becomes the most interesting facet of that hallowed space, the first thing any visitor will want to (discreetly, with a quick downward glance) check out and silently chuckle about. Can you imagine the mirth that a visiting head of state would experience?