The Mountain Wouldn’t Come To Obama…So The President Changed Its Name

It’s time to Break It Down!

This week President Barack Obama became the first sitting President to visit Alaska and the Arctic. While there, he’ll discuss climate change and its effects, evident in Alaska and elsewhere.

In addition, he is set to appear on a Survival TV Show, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” NBC and the White House announced Monday. The show will be aired later this year, as will the interview filmed when he visited the Oklahoma Prison.

PETA, among others, criticized him for his decision to appear on the show. For good measure, however, the President took another action, an Executive Action; one that left Conservatives peeved. He changed the Name of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in the United States, in fact, the highest in North America (20,237 feet), to Denali, or Great One. The U.S. Government renamed Denali, Mt. McKinley in 1917.

The President’s opponents immediately condemned him for acting like a dictator, taking unconstitutional action, overstepping his authority, engaging in a partisan stunt and, of course, exhibiting racial animus.

Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), said:

“I hope my colleagues will join with me in stopping this constitutional overreach,” vowing to work with the House natural resources committee to reverse Obama. “President Obama has decided to ignore an Act of Congress in unilaterally renaming Mount McKinley in order to promote his job-killing war on energy. This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans.”

Former Rep. Ralph Regula, also from former President McKinley’s home state of Ohio, weighed in too, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, saying:

“Obama “thinks he is a dictator and he can change the law.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) framed it as:

“Yet another example of the president going around Congress.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) scolded Obama for moving to:

“Undermine a prior act of Congress.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP Presidential candidate utilized social media, and:

Tweeted that “POTUS once again oversteps his bounds.”

House Speaker John Boehner, also from Ohio, pronounced himself:

“Deeply disappointed.”

However, lest the surge of exuberance by Ohio Republicans deludes you into thinking this matter was simply a provincial dispute, fostered by individuals from a State that had its local hero’s name decommissioned, and removed from a Mountain 3,000 miles and several Time Zones away, au contraire mon frère! It was no such thing.

One Representative, Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), said on Fox News, he thought the move might be related to McKinley having been a Republican. He noted:

“People feel like this president is constantly trying to, like, stick it in our eye, and put his thumb in our eye.”

The conservative website Gateway Pundit posted an item titled:

“Obama Renames Mt. McKinley (Named After Some White Guy) to Denali.”

At the conservative outlet, Ben Shapiro asked:

“Why did Obama choose to change the name now? Presumably because Obama has now solved all the world’s problems, and decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon.” He continued a “more serious” explanation was that Obama “opposes the legacy of President McKinley,” which includes the Spanish-American war and annexing various territories. Asked Shapiro: “[W]hen will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan?”

The deeper one wandered into the conservative blogosphere and Twitterverse, the uglier the messages became – about President Obama’s presumed anti-American views, his Muslim practices, and his primal and unquenchable urge to defecate on his predecessors.

Here’s the almost comical, truly ironic, best-kept non-secret. The President is actually perfectly within his authority to make this change. If his opponents are really outraged, they can overrule him in Congress, or they can elect a president who will change the name back.

The sticky-wicket, tricky little problem with both of these possible options is that Alaska, run by Republicans, wants the name to be Denali and have been trying to make the change for decades. The Alaska delegations — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, Republicans all — heralded the move (even as Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents McKinley’s hometown, joined the opposition).

That, however, is not the only fly in the proverbial ointment, in this case. There is the (elephant in the room) not so small matter of Conservatives professing to support local control, and lamenting the devolution of power at the local level. Yet, oddly, it seems to this casual observer, in this particular case, they are demanding the federal government overrule a state’s wishes. Oh what a conundrum, a tangled Web, I believe Mr. Shakespeare dubbed these kinds of matters. As Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank said in an Opinion piece Monday, perhaps a more ideologically suitable solution would be to rename something actually in Ohio for McKinley. A city, a river, an Interstate…the possibilities are endless.

As for Denali, Mr. McKinley hadn’t even visited the Mountain, named for him by a prospector before McKinley was elected the 25th president. A prospector, William Dickey began proposing the name Mt. McKinley in 1896, after traveling the Mountain Range. Eventually, sixteen years later, after McKinley’s assassination on September 14, 1901, Congress renamed the Mountain. For hundreds if not thousands of years of years prior to that, natives of the land had referred to it as Denali.

In 1959, Alaska gained Statehood. Afterward, Alaskans – many of whom had never stopped referring to the mountain as Denali – started wondering why their State’s natural crown jewel was named for a President from Ohio. The Alaska Legislature has been backing a proposal to change the name back to Denali since 1975. To wit, it’s fair to say, this idea is not only not some egomaniacal, brainchild of President Obama, since it predates his 1961 birth (in Hawaii, by the way). In point of fact, the most fervent backers of the idea are republicans. Go figure.

Mr. Milbank speculates, and I believe, that the dustup over renaming the mountain will be added to the other molehills of the President’s supposed overreach, which have been turned into mountains, and already includes:

  • Obamacare
  • The Stimulus
  • Dodd Frank
  • The IRS
  • Immigration
  • Executive Appointments
  • Saving General Motors
  • Contraception
  • The ATF
  • Prosecution of Low Level Drug Offenses

That’s just to name ten; not necessarily a Top 10, just ten, although Obamacare is likely at the top of almost everyone’s list. I’m sure any Conservative worth his or her salt could tick off another dozen without drawing a second breath. The real rub here is, the common objection to all of these is less about what was done…than who did it. IJS!

Yes, Conservatives’ heads will once again spin due to an action taken by President Obama. Ultimately, though, the rest of us can be at peace knowingThe Mountain Wouldn’t Come To Obama…So The President Changed Its Name!”

I’m done; holla back!

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1 thought on “The Mountain Wouldn’t Come To Obama…So The President Changed Its Name

  1. My first question on the name change was why? Why would he delve into this, seemingly for no reason. Then when THE REPUBLICANS from Alaska were leading the charge and even Sarah has been wanting the name changed, then this is the people of alaska. As you noted this goes back decades, something I didn’t know. Going back to the original name is correct! Thanks Leon


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