- - Monday, July 21, 2014


News flash. Today, the White House spokesperson stated that “President
Obama is the tallest president in history,” adding that he is taller
than the current Speaker of the House, Vladimir Putin and Rush
Limbaugh. As reporters looked around the room, he threw in a live one.
President Obama is also “the most transparent president in history,”
should anyone be wondering.

Eyes rolled, and then a few hands went up. When a reporter in the
White House Press Corps asked if this was not a bit of an
“overstatement,” the spokesperson said it “absolutely, absolutely” was
not. He noted that, while some claim that Presidents Lincoln and
Johnson were six foot four, making them both three inches taller than
Obama, there are no photographs of Lincoln’s platform shoes, which he
asserted “were popular at the time,” and no eye witnesses to confirm
Lincoln’s reported height. As for Johnson, he noted that there were no
emails to confirm that he ever stood that tall, and that the former
president “exaggerated everything, even the size of his state.”

When that reporter was then joined by three others, the question and
answer swiftly degenerated. What about the “most transparent in
history” claim, asked one of the three. Not to be thrown, the White
House continued. “While old text books make him important, we also
would note that James Madison stood only five foot four inches; he was
actually the shortest president in history.” When the room went quiet,
he pressed the point. “In fact, under Common Core (i.e. the new
federal education curriculum), President Obama is correcting the
record – this little dude’s stature is being rewritten to put him in
proper perspective.” The room hushed. “Madison was a dwarf, if facts
be known – and he also had miserable handwriting. We know since
there’s a lot of it. Nor did he ever figure out Twitter.”

The second question was to the point. “Why do you keep asserting
President Obama is the tallest President in history, when that is
untrue and a distraction?” The White House shot back. “Who says it is
untrue? Did you ever meet Lincoln? Any reporter who says it is untrue
needs to watch his step. Undermining the President’s height is a
breach of national security, you know. It places us at a disadvantage
on the world stage, makes his stature seem smaller than it is.” There
was a murmur across the room. Managing editors were not going to like
this session. The White House was slipping, worse it beginning to look
off its nut.

The third question was delayed, but a zinger. No one would later
remember who asked it. “A quick Google search shows that seven
presidents were taller than the current occupant of the White House,
and two were the same height. Since you and the President seem to
think social media are the last word, better than us newshounds, how
about an official correction?” The brazen reporter pushed. He might
have been from Fox. He might have been from ABC. He might have been
from the Washington Times. “Frankly, you are the least transparent
White House in history, bending every fact to suit and denying your
offenses in the process. What authority on earth could make President
Obama taller than the recorded heights of nine others, seven of which
towered over him?”

The White House aide looked smug. On closer examination, he was smug.
He seemed to think he had the upper hand. He was now convinced of it.
He possessed it all along, and they just didn’t know it. Dumb
reporters. Dumb readers. Dumb Republicans. Dumb historians. Dumb
public. Social media my foot, my six feet and an inch. “Well, in case
you were wondering, and this will become part of the public record as
of today, the President has signed two executive orders this morning.
One makes this White House the most transparent in history, by formal
and irrevocable proclamation. The other makes him the tallest
president in history, period. Are there any other questions?”

Robert Charles is an attorney who has served in the executive,
legislative and judicial branches of government, taught government
oversight at the Harvard University Extension School, and writes
regularly on constitutional issues. He currently runs a consulting
firm in Washington.



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