Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 8, 2009--The Fourth R: Ridiculous

The silliest story of the week involves the building criticism among extreme conservatives of Barack Obama’s decision to broadcast a message to the nation’s school children. He plans on Wednesday to speak to them via the White House website about the importance of staying in school and working hard. President George H.W. Bush did pretty much the same thing back in 1991 and I don’t remember many getting their pants in a bunch, though it is true that a few hyper-partisan Democrats in Congress, probably while on junkets, moaned about the $27,000 it cost to produce the broadcast. Since it seemed appropriate for the president who went to prep school to do that, isn’t it even more appropriate for our first African-American president to do something similar? (See linked New York Times article for the details.)

But not to the crazies on the right. They are ranting about this all over the talk radio dial, claiming that this is another example of Barack Obama wanting to go over parents’ heads in order to indoctrinate their precious little ones with socialist ideas. Ideas such as staying in school. Now that’s what I call socialism!

As an example of this latest hysteria, here’s an excerpt from a recent Washington Times editorial:

In a move suggestive of the Pyongyang public school system, the U.S. Department of Education recommended that before the speech students collectively brainstorm questions like, “Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us” Classrooms are to be festooned with “notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from President Obama’s speeches about education,” presumably alongside benevolent-looking images of the dear leader.

Yes, Barack Obama is the most recent incarnation of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. I can see their portraits side by side in every American classroom.

Then Florida’s Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, said that he “was appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.” And Chris Stigall, a talk show host out of Kansas City sneered that since he “wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor talk to me kid alone, I’m sure as hell not letting Barack Obama talk to him alone.” You can draw your own conclusions from the seamy parallels this pundit is insinuating.

Now, there is much to criticize about Obama and we are hearing it from the left, right, and center. Among his supporters there is concern that his presidency has lost significant momentum in just eight months, but even at its outer limits most of this criticism has been reasonably sane. This on the other hand . . .


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home