This youtube clip was discussed here yesterday — but I’m told that today it’s become the most-watched, most-commented-on item, so I thought I’d repost it, with some thoughts. What’s disturbing about it is this: No, Obama does not deny that immigrants should learn English, but he’s clearly dismissive of those who think it’s a big deal or even merits any attention as a public policy matter, and suggests that the bigger deal is that more Americans don’t learn Spanish, and other foreign languages. Now, not only is his manner the predictably effete “Can-you-believe-these-yahoos who-can’t-speak-French-and-who-think-people-should-speak-English?,” but his point is ludicrous and dangerous. If a fat, rich American goes to Paris and can’t speak French, that’s too bad but it is no tragedy. When a child growing up in America, or anyone who wants to live here and get ahead, doesn’t learn English, that IS a tragedy. The two cannot be equated, and yet in this clip Obama dismisses the latter and spends all his time talking about the need for English-speaking Americans to learn foreign languages and suggesting that it is the more important challenge.