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'18 Kids and Counting': Mama Duggar is pregnant, and the clan prays for President Obama

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With the news that Michelle Duggar is pregnant with her 19th child, the matriarch sure is making good on the title of the TLC show 18 Kids and Counting.

The announcement neatly coincided with a new Tuesday episode of 18 Kids, with the Duggar clan taking a “field trip” to Washington, D.C. I hadn’t watched this series in quite a while, so it took me a bit of time before my eyes adjusted to papa Jim Bob’s high-beam, ever-present, gleaming-white smile. Really, there is nothing for which this man cannot find a smile, even when confronted with the seemingly-impossible task of buying 20 subway tickets from a D.C. vending machine. (It’s the little things in a big city that throw off the Arkansas-small-town Duggars.)

I must say, after months of Jon and Kate Gosselin tabloid antics, the holy wholesomeness of the Duggars is an interesting contrast. I like the fact that this half-hour showed the family volunteering at a homeless shelter, Miriam’s Kitchen, helping to prepare a meal. I like the way the kids say “sir” and “ma’am” to any adult they encounter. I like the fact that the boys wore suits and ties when they toured the Capitol, as roving hordes of tourists padded around in sweaty t-shirts, baggy shorts, and flip-flops. It’s the little things, y’know?

On the other hand, I’m not sure about Michelle’s answer when asked by an off-camera voice what she’d talk to the President about if she had the opportunity. Mrs. Duggar said she’d tell Obama that she and her family pray for him to make wise decisions and surround himself with wise counsel. The Duggars do enough praying, as anyone who watches knows. Couldn’t she stop praying for a few minutes to engage the President in an actual, give-and-take, curiosity- and knowledge-satisfying conversation?

Oh, well — that President chat was theoretical anyway. The Duggars managed to survive the D.C. subway and a meal at an Ethiopian restaurant, where they smiled a lot but a few of them turned up their noses at the food and the incense that was burning and the “whole different culture” thing they were exposed to. Confronted with some people doing Ethiopian dances in the eatery, a couple of the kids looked a little embarrassed. The Duggars don’t dance, you see. Sometimes the Duggars unnerve me a little.

So: Do you watch 18 Kids and Counting? Are you happy for Michelle Duggar and her pregnancy, or does the prospect of 19 kids and counting strike you as a bit much?

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