President Obama Doesn’t Know Much about Robin Hood

Sam Cooke’s well-known classic song “Wonderful World” contains these lines:

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

I don’t know what knowledge President Obama has of biology (his support of homosexual marriage makes me question his knowledge of the subject), science, or French, but I do know that he doesn’t have much knowledge of history, in particular, the history of Robin Hood.

Speaking at a rally in Stamford, Connecticut, President Obama attacked Mitt Romney’s economic plan by referencing Robin Hood. The president blamed “the uncompromising view that says we should be going back to the old top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.” He contrasted his own tax and spend plan with Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut. “It’s like Robin Hood in reverse — it’s Romney-hood.” Of course the partisan and ignorant crowd “laughed and roared and whistled its approval” of the equally ignorant words of the president.

A good place to start to know the real Robin Hood is the TV-show ballad that still rings in my head:

Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Riding through the glen!
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! With his band of men!
Feared by the bad! Loved by the good!
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!

Who were the “bad” that feared Robin and his “band of men”? It wasn’t the capitalists; it was the government officials and their cronies who were taxing the people.

“In the earliest sources, Robin Hood is a yeoman [a free man owning his own farm], but he was often later portrayed as an aristocrat wrongfully dispossessed of his lands and made into an outlaw by an unscrupulous sheriff.” He would have been one of those rich guys Obama wants to tax more. You know, those who aren’t paying their “fair share.”

Robin Hood took back from the political powers of the day (and in some traditions of the story from corrupt clergymen) what had been taken from the people by the government. This is made quite clear in the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, and Basil Rathbone.

The archer in green tights was against the political tyrants, most notably Prince John, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and the sheriffs who extracted taxes from the common people to pay the king so he and his fellow tyrants could retain their political positions.

If a Robin Hood movie were being cast today, Barack Obama would be cast as Prince John. The producers would have their pick of securing a supporting cast for Prince John’s court of governmental thieves by any number of cabinet members, advisers, congressmen, and senators from both major political parties.