How the left thinksSeptember 10 2009 at 9:34 AM
one should compare apples (speaking in a classroom) to oranges (speaking over the internet with a lesson plan) when one makes a comparison.
A Perfect Storm of Idiocy
A Commentary By Joe Conason
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The wild furor over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren raises many questions, but there is only one that really matters. How did America surrender its political discourse -- not to mention the news cycle -- to the most unreasonable and unstable elements of the far right?
Not so many years ago, nobody would have imagined that a bland presidential address to young students, urging them to remain in school, study hard and nurture their aspirations for success, could engender a raging national controversy. Nobody would have believed that such an ordinary event could excite suspicions among a significant part of the population that the chief executive is "indoctrinating" their children into a "socialist ideology," or that the fate of the republic depended on parents keeping their innocents away from the classrooms, lest they hear his words. And nobody would have believed that the resulting wave of paranoia, supercharged by talk radio and cable television, could actually grip the attention of the public when real issues demand action.
When the nation's first African-American president proposes to urge children, and in particular those children who regard him as a role model, to behave wisely and avoid self-destructive behavior, liberals and conservatives alike ought to be expected to applaud him. Indeed, conservatives especially should be clapping loudly, since they have so often bemoaned the cultural barriers to advancement faced by poor and minority students.
So why have the idols of the right, notably Glenn Beck of Fox News Channel, instead seized this moment to stir anger and fear among Republican parents by claiming that the president intends harm to their kids? Why did many Republican leaders, notably the party chairman of Florida, echo the craziness? (And why would any parent take advice from Beck, a college dropout and recovering alcoholic?)
While many Obama critics advertise themselves as "libertarians" who distrust any message from Big Brother in Washington, that healthy skepticism cannot be the reason for the current outcry -- because two of the past three Republican presidents spoke directly to the nation's schoolchildren without provoking any significant reaction at all.
In the fall of 1991, President George Herbert Walker Bush delivered a speech in a classroom that was broadcast live nationwide by the Pubic Broadcasting System, Mutual Broadcasting and NBC Radio Network. The blanket media coverage was arranged by the Education Department (which gave rise to a few grumpy remarks by Democrats in Congress that were duly noted but mostly ignored by the press).
"Thanks for allowing me to visit your classroom to talk to you and all these students," he said politely to the teacher who was hosting him, "and millions more in classrooms all across the country." He went on to tell his audience: "Make your teachers work hard. Tell them you want a first-class education. Tell them that you're here to learn. Block out the kids who think it's not cool to be smart. I can't understand for the life of me what's so great about being stupid."
His predecessor, Ronald Reagan, addressed students directly on at least two occasions -- once in a broadcast speech in 1988 and once in a session with high-school students at the White House in 1986. Both times, the Gipper seized the chance to promote his own policies, with particular attention to cutting taxes and his "vision of economic freedom." In fact, Reagan's remarks were entirely political, if not partisan. He did precisely what the right has wrongly attacked Obama for doing -- but that was a message that conservatives like to hear, so they didn't object to the "indoctrination" of students at the public's expense.
The irony of this tempest of idiocy is that the same blowhards who constantly slander and slur President Obama were telling us, not too long ago, that criticizing the commander in chief during wartime was tantamount to treason. But of course, they are patriots of political convenience -- with no allegiance to anything except their own power and their extreme ideology.
Maybe if he acted as a pres
|September 10 2009, 9:41 AM |
"criticizing the commander in chief during wartime was tantamount to treason. But of course, they are patriots of political convenience" but the previous commander in chiefs hadn't bowed down to our enemies, shook hands with our foes and promoted illegals access to free education/healthcare at the expense of our rights.
Then again he is promoting his agenda at the price of our freedom. Taxing the tax payors into the ground.
When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
|September 10 2009, 11:32 AM |
When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
By: Byron York
The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.
Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president's school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported.
With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"
Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event."
Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. "The speech itself and the use of the department's funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal," the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. "The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda."
That didn't stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it "cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers' money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. -- while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters."
Lost in all the denouncing and investigating was the fact that Bush's speech itself, like Obama's today, was entirely unremarkable. "Block out the kids who think it's not cool to be smart," the president told students. "If someone goofs off today, are they cool? Are they still cool years from now, when they're stuck in a dead end job. Don't let peer pressure stand between you and your dreams.
Source: Washington Examiner
Re: When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
|September 10 2009, 12:04 PM |
"while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters"
And of course, that was 100% BS. Bush only cut school lunch funds for the least needy of all the kids. But it wouldn't have sounded nearly as good to complain about Bush cutting school lunch funds for rich kids.
Re: How the left thinks
|September 10 2009, 2:49 PM |
"because two of the past three Republican presidents spoke directly to the nation's schoolchildren without provoking any significant reaction at all."
Hmmm??? Odd that he didn't go on to mention anything about the one that DID provoke a significant reaction, which was by far the most recent one.
Both sides are hypocrites and
|September 11 2009, 8:41 AM |
use anything to their advantage. The United States has changed the focus from what is right vs. wrong to what is Left vs. Right. A sad state of affairs born out on this forum every day and in Washington night and day.
|Current Topic - How the left thinks|