Political Editors / March 9, 2016

Obama’s Aversion to Funerals (If You’re a Conservative…)

A clear pattern has emerged.

Not once, not twice, but thrice now Barack Obama has opted not to attend the funerals of iconic conservative leaders. When Margaret Thatcher — the great transformative British leader who teamed up with like-minded Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II to defeat Communist Russia and reverse the growing Socialist state — died in 2013, neither Obama nor Joe Biden attended her funeral. In February, when Justice Antonin Scalia died after nearly three decades on the bench, only Biden paid his respects. This week another strong advocate of Liberty, Nancy Reagan, was called home, but once again Obama decided against witnessing her burial. “Obama will not attend Nancy Reagan’s funeral on Friday, opting instead to speak at a festival in Austin, Texas,” NBC News reports. That festival, South by Southwest, describes its annual gathering as “the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.” Perhaps Obama plans to demonstrate his selfie stick expertise?

Obama has attended other former public officials’ funerals, including those of Senators Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd and Daniel Inouye, Representative Tom Foley and South Carolina State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney. It’s also worth noting that while he skipped Thatcher’s funeral, he flew to Africa to witness Nelson Mandela’s. Obviously a president can’t attend every single funeral, and he shouldn’t be expected to. But there is a clear and disconcerting pattern here. The officials whose burials Obama attended had one thing in common — they were all Democrats, and in Mandela’s case he was a supporter of communism. On the contrary, Thatcher, Scalia and Reagan held strongly conservative ideals. Just before Scalia’s death, Obama, speaking on his home turf in Springfield, Illinois, said “one of my few regrets is my inability to reduce the polarization and meanness in our politics.” Whether it’s intended or not, the message Obama conveys when he won’t honor conservatives is that he believes polarization and partisanship don’t matter.

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