Obama's Speech to Schools No Reason to Freak Out

The lead story in today's St. Augustine Record feeds the hysteria over President Obama's planned speech to the nation's schoolchildren Tuesday. "Parents may pull kids from Obama talk," the headline reads, "Some St. Johns parents fear political message." Instead of covering what Obama's going to say to students, which will be a non-partisan call for kids to study, do homework and help the country by bettering themselves educationally, the Record leads with idiotic spin from Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who claims without any evidence that "taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology."

Aside from a comment by the White House press secretary calling it "silly season when the president of the United States can't tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school," reporter Marcia Lane doesn't quote a single person to explain or defend the speech. Instead, she quotes Greer, the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, a Republican school superintendent in Arizona, unnamed critics and St. Johns County School Superintendent Joe Joyner, who acts as if an attempt was made to sneak this event past him. Neither this story nor others I've read mentions the fact that past presidents also addressed schoolchildren.

I'm a St. Johns parent, and I fear a country that has become so cynical about politics that people don't trust the president to give a speech to schoolkids, simply because they voted for the other party.

I don't know what it is about President Obama that inspires such irrational panic among Republicans. Whether it's the scope of federal intervention in the nation's massive economic crisis, the presence of the first liberal president in the White House in 28 years, the endless stream of opportunistic attacks by the still-formidable right-wing media machine or discomfort over his race and background, Obama faces so much mistrust in everything he does that I fear the country is becoming ungovernable.

On the Drudge Retort, Yav did a good job today of running down all the false, misleading or crazy stuff that's been flung at the president lately:

  • Death panels.
  • Pull the plug on Grandma.
  • Death panels for the disabled.
  • Forced euthanasia for our Veterans.
  • Breast cancer patients to be killed off.
  • Obama's a socialist. No, he's a marxist.
  • He's a radical christian. No he's a secret muslim.
  • He's actually a Kenyan, not a U.S. Citizen.
  • He's an illegal alien.
  • He's coming for our guns.
  • He's implementing a civil military force.
  • He's going to indoctrinate our children.

Every week there's something new that cycles through the Drudge Report, bloggers like Michelle Malkin, radio gasbags like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, each outlet amplifying the last one until it's another "major controversy" that tells the right wing what they want to hear -- which is that they were right all along about Obama. Work people into a lather, rinse and repeat.

Although I describe myself as a "yellow-dog Democrat," I've always tried to take an open-minded approach to politics and be receptive to other viewpoints. That's one reason the Retort has more conservative and libertarian members than other liberal political sites. But these days, it's hard to take anything coming from Republicans seriously because there's such a flood of BS coming from Obama haters.

Political consensus requires an assumption of good faith. The approach many Republicans are taking to Obama's presidency, in which every single thing he does is portrayed in the worst possible light, is extremely destructive to the well-being of this country because it makes consensus impossible. There will be a Republican president in the White House soon enough. The approach being taken today against Obama will be used against his successor. Obama and the Democratic leaders of Congress will stop looking for common ground with people who believe they want to kill grandmothers and the disabled, set up FEMA detention camps and turn the nation into North Cuba. You can't compromise with crazy.


These people would be the first to cry "disrespectful" and "unpatriotic" if someone like Bush got the same treatment from liberals. And they're also the ones saying "keep the government's hands off my Medicare." At one time it was possible to make them pause briefly by exposing their flawed logic, but that doesn't even seem to work anymore - the very concepts of logic and truth are being discredited. This is a cultural sickness that could have some very dangerous consequences.

In 2004 I was saying that the conversation needs to be about the damage that hyperpartisanship is doing to the country. It's truer than ever. These wingnuts need to be marginalized and exposed for the idiotic thugs that they are. Thanks for doing your part.

Come on get a brain..this president is a narsitic power grabbing Maxist. He is not about anything but degrading Americans and America...read between the lines..you have to be blind..he is surrounded by Communists and other jail birds. This is Anmerica worst disgrace in the White House..ever..he will not make it. He is a racist and has millions of Americans that hate his guts..which he has none of, by the way. A cowardly soul.

I hope #2 Jeff is a temporary escapee from some parallel bizarro universe. Otherwise we may be completely doomed.

What are you talking about, "successor"? These are the tactics used against his predecessor. They actually aren't even as loud yet, though only because these things take time to spin up. (I do mean that; I have every expectation that it will get as bad.)

Of course, they were used against Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan too, and the only reason I can't go farther back with that list is that my personal knowledge starts to peter out.

I still see the Bush bumper stickers every week! 'course, I work in Ann Arbor and that doesn't help, but still, I see them every week.

Speaking as someone who ultimately doesn't particularly like either of them as Presidents, this is exactly the same as what was done to Bush.

If "you" (in general) want to see civility "return" to political discourse, you can start when a Republican is in power again.

... Or do you actually believe that every single accusation flung at Bush was actually true? Even the contradictory ones? (You know, where one minute he's a brilliant Machiavellian plotter of world domination, albeit with plans strangely transparent to the left fringe, and the next minute is too incompetent to tie his shoes without help.)

I don't see Robert Gibbs supporting Van Jones any longer do you? Look you are not a Moderate if you were you would see the obivious not just the OUTRAGEOUS things that are going on within this Administration. This guy has 34 NON VETTED CZARS all of whom are FAR Left extremist working Directly for him, just look at the FACTS try that and if you are not scared to let this man near an adult who is not far Left Liberal no less even to speak to our children then that proves you are one of his Extreme Left people. Again LOOK at the FACTS. Quote "to build and internal army bigger and stronger than our military" FACT are you scared now!!!

28 years since we had a liberal President? Is this guy kidding? Bill Clinton was as liberal as Obama, he just didn't have the votes in Congress for most of his term. The father/son team of Bushes weren't nearly as conservative as they advertised. Even Ronald Reagan could have demonstrated more conservative values. If this writer thinks we haven't had a liberal since Mr. Peanut, he's been drinking the coolaid.

This nonsense is just another example of how the Democrat and Republican factions of the Boot On Your Neck Party reverse positions every time the other faction is in the White House. All of this happened before when King George II was in office, the only difference being that the positions where reversed:

If "you" (in general) want to see civility "return" to political discourse, you can start when a Republican is in power again.

I'm not looking for civility as much as sanity. I don't see why we have to wait for that until the next Republican is in the White House. Do you really want to spend the next three or seven years hearing some of this lunacy? Stuff like the paranoia about policy czars?

Bill Clinton was as liberal as Obama, he just didn't have the votes in Congress for most of his term.

President Clinton wasn't much of a liberal. His signature domestic legislative achievement was welfare reform and he ran on New Democrat triangulation that ceded ground to conservatives on a wide range of issues. The two times he pushed for a genuinely liberal issue -- universal health care and gays in the military -- he caved. And then he went and signed the Defense of Marriage Act. Clinton did what he had to do to remain popular. He left office with more unspent political capital than any other president in my lifetime. I'm not clear what he was saving it for.

Republicans still claim "liberal bias" in the media, but the St. Petersburg article you cite is a great example of enormous right-wing bias. Overall, the media has been displaying more conservative bias than liberal, probably from fear of being tagged with the canard of "liberal bias" which most people don't realize disappeared decades ago.

Right wing crazies get totally disproportionate media coverage. For example, there was a high energy, peaceful 3,000-person rally IN FAVOR of healthcare reform in Seattle this weekend, but no media coverage at all. Had it been a 3,000-person rally of people holding signs of Obama with a Hitler moustache, the images would have been all over the media.

You reap what you sow. Cast your mind back over the last 8 years, and the comments about President Bush that your side of the aisle made, Rogers.

After you ponder that for a bit, you might possibly understand why President Obama is getting so much crap.

There's a related thing going on, too: IMHO, we have the worst political class in history right now (across both parties). A lot of the opposition to Obama is, I think, a matter of "the straw that broke the camel's back". Spending has been out of control for years, and now we have a President who's decided to double down on debt. Is it any wonder that people are frustrated?

You reap what you sow. Cast your mind back over the last 8 years ...

That's a fool's game. You stop at the last eight years, but a lot of the slams Bush took were a reaction to how Clinton was treated, which was rationalized by how Bush 41 and Reagan were treated, and on and on it goes. You really want to spend the rest of your life watching the parties playing You Did It First? That's no way to run a country.

The folks who blather on about Obama being a Marxist seem to ignore all the Bush Jr. holdovers in the Obama Administration. He's got Bushmen in the Defense Secretary and head of the Federal Reserve for starters.

And this TARP nonsense was started by his neo-con predecessor, Bush Jr.

When these bozos scream "I want my country back!" - what the hell do they want it back FROM? This has been the most seamless Presidential transfer of power in our Nation's history.

It's perfectly fair to go back to the unfair slams against Clinton, and then further back against Bush (elder) and Reagan as well. The point is, the stuff being tossed at Obama isn't new, and certainly isn't unexpected.

At the same time, he seems to be completely unserious about the debt explosion, and that's completely fair to slam him on, IMHO.

Republicans are out here complaining abot debt and fiscal responsiblity?? 90% of the US's national debt was incurred during republican presidencies, so your fiscal claimis worthless.

At this point, it doesn't much matter who you feel like blaming - but given who held Congress for most of the time in question, I think we can say that it's been a bi-partisan failure. But again, it doesn't matter much. The debt is real, it's huge, and Obama wants to add $9T to it.

At the same time, he seems to be completely unserious about the debt explosion, and that's completely fair to slam him on, IMHO.

There are many real issues it is fair to criticize Obama about. Treating an innocuous speech to schoolchildren like an indoctrination attempt is not one of them.

You really want to spend the rest of your life watching the parties playing You Did It First?

No. It sounded to me like you were actually going that route though, setting up for the next Republican president, when indeed it's been going on forever. (In fact you can find some great historical stuff if you look. There was just plain less campaigning in the past, but it had plenty of nasty stuff in it.)

I forget where I saw it (somewhere in Teh Feedz), but someone made the point that the really interesting takeaway from this is that there is a lot of distrust and unease about the government in general, rather than a specific objection to Obama, and that this is probably more a manifestation of that rather than a specific problem with the President. Americans in general have disliked their government for a while, but we seem to be moving to full-blown loathing here.

Is this a problem? I don't know about that. I don't think many people would disagree with the statement that state and federal governments "take far too much to do too little"; you'll get people placing different emphasis in there (I would prefer to see it take less, others would prefer to see it do more) but I bet you can get broad agreement on that. We're not going to solve that problem by being moderately annoyed at our government, then flipping the channel. As unpleasant as it may be for a while, an "ungovernable country" is probably a prerequisite to solving the problems we face.

Why hasn't Obama ever had the guts to make his own decisions so our country won't become another Marxist Russia. Is this guy a fraud or what? Can we blame Clinton for all this if bush is their only reason for failure on a massive scale.And why not Carter and Nixon as well??Defend you own moves and get a backbone Democrats...their are millions of Americans who hate Obama for killing all our seniors and stealing their money..that is a factor to shoot back for..we may be old but we won this freedom for you and now you stab us in the back? Not going to happen..or an eye for an eye guys...hell you can't even take a citizen shouting at you at a town hall!! Get someone in control with guts America and who will defend our constitution we all fought for. throw the Marxist out and all his thugs from Chicago.

this is called fox news trying to find news stories to rattle people so they can get hannity oriely and beck to yell and scream to get rating.

its a total disgrace!

just go to you tube and watch reagan and bush do similar things.

"The approach being taken today against Obama will be used against his successor."

Only if that successor is another Democrat. Remember which President got impeached. Also remember the background to the Supreme Court case of _Bush v. Gore_.

get a backbone Democrats...their are millions of Americans who hate Obama for killing all our seniors and stealing their money.

Obama killed all of the seniors? I don't remember reading that in the morning paper.

There are many real issues it is fair to criticize Obama about. Treating an innocuous speech to schoolchildren like an indoctrination attempt is not one of them.

This is what a political party does when it's bankrupt of ideas. They attack a President for telling schoolchildren to study hard.

The problem with the neo-cons attacking Obama on these non-controversial things (telling kids to stay in school, being born in Hawaii, etc.) is that their insane rantings push the moderate Republicans out of the tent.

What will the "Blue Dog Democrats" of the Republican Party call themselves after they've all abandoned the Crazytown that is the current GOP?

The Red Cat Republicans?

Get ready, moderate Democrats, because the Red Cats are coming. Welcome them with open arms, and you'll rule this country for the next hundred years.

Send the kids or don't send them ... either way, they will find out what was said ... with the media and people talking, it will get out ...

for those keeping score at home, here's the new republican agenda:
prayer in schools = ok
presidential pep talks in schools = verboten

republicans censoring the president's speech in schools... how far the party has come.

-a red cat republican

Let's face it, Obama is inexperienced, and has made some bad moves out of the box. He rolled in at a time when people were upset with the direction of the country, ie. the war in Iraq, the economy, etc. Things fell into place well as the mainstream media overwhelmingly supported him, and McCain's mis-step with the Palin choice pushed him over the hump.

On the campaign trail, Obama spoke as a centerist, and sometimes channeling conservative Ronald Reagan in certain parts of the country to win support. But Obama is far left of the average American, and has been exposed for who he really is with the choices he's made in the people he has surrounded himself with. It was obvious to those who were paying attention. But far to many were fooled.

President Obama will be forced toward the center, but his mis-steps on the Stimulus, Omnibus, Tarp, unemployment approaching 10%, healthcare, his 2009 budget numbers, comments on professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr & the "teachable moment", the energy bill, and the turn in the war in Afganistan, all in the first 8 months of his presidency, will be tough to overcome.

He will undoubtedly face opposition from his own party and Republicans in 2010 & 2012, and will most likely not win a second term. It's a shame. He had the opportunity to be a great president.

Opportunity to be a great president? Perhaps you need to look at his background like all the conservatives were screaming prior to the election, it is clear to even the most casual observer that he is the most radical left wing ever to sit in the oval orifice. I guess they all have an opportunity but the fact that Obama has been completely inept in every aspect from foreign policy to economics to his affinity for down and dirty Chicago thug politics is certainly no surprise to anyone who actually looks.

Obama's biggest problem is that he cannot be trusted. He has flip-flopped his positions such as universal health care so many times you can't tell what his true position is. So, if he says 2 years ago that a one-payer system is his ultimate goal and then turns around and says no no. u can keep your current health care plan (but the bill doesn't say this if u read it) what are we expected to think about him. If he would just stick to what he believes maybe we could have some intelligent debate, until then we are doomed with the back and forth rhetoric.

LucyDrake is dead on! The Repubs are too dumb to know that when you tell a kid that something is banned, he'll just want it twice as much!

How long after "Little Jimmy, you CANNOT watch Obama's speech!" is Jimmy running to his computer to look it up?

The Repubs are falling right into the Dems' trap!

Consider me another Red Cat Republican!

Obama is giving the kid's a rah rah speech. Stay in school, get good grades. wash your hands etc. I don't understand all the outrage.

To all the people who say that Obama is a socialist, please name the one piece of legislation that you are referring to that has been passed.

Let's just agree to disagree. I am a proud Republican! If this was John McCain who wanted to address our children the Democrats would be shouting the same things that the Republicans are now, no matter what neither party can win with the other. I am allowing my children to watch his speech and I will be there with them to watch it, I can then answer any questions that they have. We need to stop bickering over who's right and who's wrong because we each have our own beliefs and most are not open to the other.

it all comes down to talking with your kids and raising them right, The people taking their kids out of school have already brain washed them and took away their senses of purpose and ability to learn from differing view points. Congrats Fox News.

Fox News has lost so much credibility on this one its crazy!

I use to watch it all the time, but now its simply watching high paid court jesters yelling and screaming to the masses. As we all know the jester so only so funny for so long, then people see through the smoke and mirrors.

Sticks to the facts!

Obama is a great leader. And it is very much evident on how he became America's Favorite, and then rose to be the First Black to adorn the White House.
The International community also acknowledged his prowess by conferring upon him the prestigious Nobel Prize for Peace.
A well Deserving Nobel Laurette Mr. President.


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Obama is a versatile leader that America has seen in all its history. Being the first Black American President, he has achieved great respect, and is the undeniable symbol of justice.


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