WHY IT MATTERS: The Obama Speech Flap

Sometimes I look at a controversy and want to shake people on both sides. This is one of those times.

Republican critics of President Obama are in a public lather over the Department of Education’s promotion of suggested classroom activities that are linked to a speech on education Obama is set to give on Tuesday from Wakefield High School in Arlington.

The activities, they say, seem designed to “indoctrinate” kids to Obama's worldview and politics. One critic told Fox News that it seems as if Obama is being set up to be “superintendent in chief.”

Oh please.

A president has a right to make speeches and urge kids to study and get a good education. And the activities are obviously intended to part of what the White House hopes will be a teachable moment around the Obama speech.

In their zeal to use a sledgehammer to kill a fly, these folks are missing the REAL problem with the activities. They are silly.

There are two sets of plans, one for preK-grade 6 and the other for grades 7-12, written with some unfortunate educational gobbledygook (a "concept web"!?!?) and some sloppy language.

They tell teachers, for example, to “build background knowledgeable about the president and his speech by “reading books about presidents and Barack Obama.” Last I looked, Obama was one of the presidents.

The activities are packaged right on the department’s home page with an explanation of what is being promoted as a “historic” speech by Obama. It says the national address, at noon next Tuesday will “challenge students to work hard, set education goals and take responsibility for their learning.” It can be watched live on the department website.

Good for the president for trying to inspire kids to get a good education. Presidential messages matter, and this one, from the first African-American president, is especially important for communities in which education is not seen as a priority.

Still, isn’t it a bit much to suggest, as does one of the activities, that:

“Teachers may ask students to think of the following:
“Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us?
“How will he challenge us? What might he say?”

The Education Department, apparently stung by the criticism, took the time to change some of the wording--as if it were possible to mollify strident critics.
The first version asked that students could, “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

(I imagine if Obama were a Republican, Republicans would say it is patriotic for young Americans to try to help the president. But as he is a Democrat, they call the language “indoctrination.” )

The White House changed the language to: “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

Here’s why this episode matters:

It takes time and public focus away from serious issues that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his department need to address and in which thoughtful critics should engage.

They are trying.

Diane Ravitch, a former education department official under the first President Bush, a professor and author, recently slammed efforts by Duncan’s Education Department to tie teacher evaluations to test scores though there is no evidence that it improves achievement.

Herbert Kohl, author of a book on education that Duncan recently said was instrumental in his thinking, issued an open letter blasting the education secretary for promoting the importance of standardized tests.

Serious work can’t get done if educators and policymakers waste time on nonsense. When the department spends timing promoting anything less than the best, its standards are unintentionally undermined.

Better if both sides had left this one alone.

By Washington Post editors  |  September 3, 2009; 8:53 AM ET
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Comments

I've followed the spread of this virus since yesterday. It makes me sick. You didn't even mention the numerous right-wing blogs comparing this to the indoctrination of Nazi youth.

Just as with the death panels, Obama is a Muslim, and fake birth certificate claims is a totally manufactured non-story that the right wing spin machine manages to spread into the mainstream media. Today if you search on this story under "news articles" there are dozens of stories about this non-story.

I think it is wonderful that our president will address kids on what will be many of their first day to reinforce the importance of education, achievement, and staying in school. How on earth can this be controversial? Only through the twisted minds of paranoid Obama haters. Past presidents have addressed school children, and if the message is not political there's no reason to oppose it.

Posted by: jmct1 | September 3, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Republican commenters' fearmongering over this event just offers more proof they've been INDOCTRINATED by Fox News.

Posted by: angie12106 | September 3, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

One speech does not an indoctrination make. The Republicans and conservatives must realize that the rest of the world, including children and young adults, are not easily indoctrinated as they are. Easy to lead a horse to water.... etc. The Evangelicals know a thing or two about indoctrination. Repeat, repeat, repeat ad infinitum any lie such as Iraq has WMDS, mushroom cloud, torture is ok, death panels, pulling plug on Grandma, ad nauseum. One speech by Pres. Obama to students whose attention span is 60 seconds wouldn't be much.

Posted by: mstratas | September 3, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to a bunch of wingnuts to get in a lather over the president speaking to and encouraging the nations students. These are the same ilk who defend the likes of college drop outs like Palin and Cheney as well as a barely literate G.W. Bush.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | September 3, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The president is using this speech to promote his agenda. Sorry for the inconvenient fact.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If George W. Bush had done this, the liberal reaction would have been far, far more insane than anything the conservatives are saying. Code Pink would have disrupted classrooms and the NYT and WaPo would have editorialized that Bush was politicizing education to drum up support for his policies. Every parent in Takoma Park would have kept their children home in protest and taken them to a "teach-in" against the war.

Sorry, liberals, the shoe's on the other foot now, and you're just a bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 3, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Reagan, Bush speeches to school children good, Obama speech bad? The damage being done to our country by Republican spokesmen
who so disrespect the office of the presidency is inexcusable. When telling kids to get an education is equated with naziism it is time for us including the Post to denounce those spresding this hate as the ones who are truly unamerican.

Posted by: rolen | September 3, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Let's call this whole episode - and all the ones preceding it - what it is. Racism is racism is racism. There has never been a reaction like this to any speech a President has made, and most presidents have addressed schoolchildren somehwere in their term. Example - GW Bush famously reading a story to children on 9/11.

Posted by: Ruthiedke | September 3, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives do not like Obama's socialist agenda. We are not "wingnuts" just because we don't trust him not to try with education what he is trying with industry, energy and health care. His white house is riddled with radical leftist "czars", not subject to review and approval.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

(I imagine if Obama were a Republican, Republicans would say it is patriotic for young Americans to try to help the president. But as he is a Democrat, they call the language “indoctrination.” )

And I imagine that if President Bush were to have done this, the WashPo would have the story on the front page, and wouldn't be so dismissive.

Posted by: Bailers | September 3, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

What bothered me the most and was not mentioned in the Post article or by Ms. Strauss is the White House asking 6th graders and up to record quotes/sayings by the President. This smacks of communist/dictatorship regimes that plaster the country with posters & sayings of their beloved leaders. This is most disturbing to me and I wonder why the Post did not include it?? Maybe, LIBERAL BIAS!

Posted by: pdhaar | September 3, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The president is using this speech to promote his agenda. Sorry for the inconvenient fact.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

I couldn't agree with you more...he is using this speech to covertly promote his maniacal agenda of EDUCATION, RESPONSIBILITY AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT! How DARE he!

Posted by: HUdeeva | September 3, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Intoxicated...the resulting state of physical and mental instability after ingesting alcohol or drugs in a unsafe quantity.

InFOXicated...the resulting state of mental instability or being misinformed after viewing FOX News in any quantity.

(Note: If the term InFOXicated catches on, I want credit).

mcdy01

Posted by: mcdy01 | September 3, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

EXCUSE ME, but the question suggestions on the Department of Education's website for the children's classroom activities is what makes this unexceptable to me. I'm not making this up.

During the speech;
What is the President trying to tell me?
What is the President asking me to do?

Students might think about the following;
What specific job is he asking me to do?

After the speech;
What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

Sorry, but Liberals didn't like Bush even addressing the students. They said it was a waste of resources. What if he had this assignment sent out to the schools? Nobody can feel good about being a hypocrite, so admit that if you are against his agenda you don't want him giving instructions to your child.

Posted by: jodi3 | September 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, I thought the president was AWESOME...because he was the PRESIDENT! Once I formed my own political ideology I realized I lean Left, but as a kid, Reagan was a ROLE MODEL. I didn't have to care about his politics in grade school. If I heard him say "Study Hard" I would have, just like Nancy's "Just Say No" campaign.

My daughter starts kindergarten this year. If she gets to see a speech by the president telling her to work hard and do good deeds and whatever else...that's fine by me. She'll take those lessons home and be excited that she got spoken to as a STUDENT.

If you think that any kids in school will be "indoctrinated" by secret socialist code words embedded in his speech...I mean, c'mon!

Posted by: db_in_va | September 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Still, isn’t it a bit much to suggest, as does one of the activities, that:

“Teachers may ask students to think of the following:
“Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us?
“How will he challenge us? What might he say?” "

-I don't think that is 'a bit much,' no. It is the kind of thing I encourage my own children to do, to develop their thinking skills. Thinking beforehand about a message they are likely to get is helpful, I think. I do it with commercials on tv, for one thing.

Is it that you don't like the words 'inspire' and 'challenge'? What's the problem?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | September 3, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Jodi posted that the DoE's suggested questions were "unexceptable"(sp)...For those who are so opposed to this speech, can you maybe give us some answers to these questions based on what you think he will say? I'm truly curious to see what evil/socialist/secret-agenda ideas you think a speech like this will entail...

During the speech;
What is the President trying to tell me?
What is the President asking me to do?

Students might think about the following;
What specific job is he asking me to do?

After the speech;
What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

Posted by: db_in_va | September 3, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

fallschurch1 thats great that you help your children try and decipher the commercials intent, I do the same. As parents it is our job to monitor what channel the TV is on, and what messages make it to our children. I do the job of parenting myself and I take that job very seriously. I would need to preview his speech to make sue it is honestly just a speech about good grades and that it didn't mention healthcare, global warming or anything else I might disagree with the Presidnent on.

Posted by: jodi3 | September 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Ummm Jodi3, darling, it's called "developing critical thinking skills". As an educator and one who works with hundreds of schoolchildren every year, I am thrilled that our children are being asked to not only give careful thought to was will be said but to also develop their own interpretations. Our children have been trained to regurgitate whatever we tell them and not think on their own ("because I said so" sound familiar). It's the reason why many of the young adults that I see entering today's workforce have such difficulty with non-specific tasks.

Besides all of that, none of us have even HEARD the speech yet! So all of this bantering is just speculation. Let's revisit this discussion next week after the speech has been delivered and determine if it was detrimental or not.

Posted by: HUdeeva | September 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama can get Van Jones to teach the kids about Marx. If you think that's crazy wingnut talk, research the guy. And if Obama appoints unconfirmable czars to replace existing governmental structures, why is it unreasonable to assume that he will try to use the dept of ed in some socialist way as well?

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

This is so embarrassing. And republicans are supposed to be "patriotic Americans." Kind of explains why all the Timothy McVeighs of the world come from the right...

Posted by: onifadee | September 3, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

jodi3 - what makes you think that your children will agree with you, especially about "anything else I might disagree with the President on."? Have you been in total agreement with your parents for your entire life? I sure haven't. Neither have most of my family and friends been in total agreement with their parents. It's our job to teach our children to think, not to expect them to parrot our thoughts. Let the kids watch the speech and then discuss it with them - they might just teach YOU something!!

Posted by: philasportsphan | September 3, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Valerie, are you aware that in 1991, when Bush 41 gave a speech from a Washington DC junior high school using materials from the Department of Education, then-House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt denounced it as "paid political advertising"? Some things are just ordinary politics and nothing more.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/09/03/flashback-1991-gephardt-called-bushs-speech-students-paid-political-a

Posted by: tomtildrum | September 3, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

db_in_va Anything not related to their schoolwork would be unexceptable to me, and I do have that right. They are my children. I'm the one the world would blame if they broke the law of hurt someone, so I do get to choose who asks them to do what. I would simply like to preview the speech that the little people that I helped create, CARRIED TO TERM, and worked hard to raise with no Goverment assistance whatsoever are going to be subjected to. Maybe he'll start a speach with the truth for once "FOR THOSE OF YOU LUCKY ENOUGH NOT TO HAVE BEEN ABORTED UNDER OUR GLORIOUS WOMEN'S RIGHT'S AGENDA OF WHICH I APPROVE."

Posted by: jodi3 | September 3, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

jodi3 - one other thought - I was about 11 years old and was faced with a decision about whether or not to continue with music lessons. In the car, with my father, on the way to a lesson, I asked my dad what he thought I should do. He responded, "This is something that you have decide about, I'm not going to be around all of your life to make your decisions for you". I've been making my own decisions since that time, many of them I know he disagreed with, but respected my right to learn, think about and decide them on my own. Give your kids the same right!

Posted by: philasportsphan | September 3, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

philasportsphan Are you serious? Its still my job to make sure the message is acceptable to me as long as they are children. Once their grown adults they can watch and listen to whatever they want. Maybe they want to play video games that depict murder too, but as long as I'm in charge thats not going to happen. I'd be the first one you blamed if they went to school and shot up the class. Come on people. If you were against the war and Bush, would you have wanted him in the classroom talking to classes about how they need to support the troops and think positive about the war in Iraq?

Posted by: jodi3 | September 3, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

THAT'S IT -

Enough with this already. Up until this point, I thought that the right wing were simply fighting a political fight, even when carried to extremes (death panels, birth certificates, etc).

Now, the President is doing what every other President has done before- talking to kids, telling them to work hard, stay in school - very bland and ordinary, and the right wing is having a fit.

Now I'm convinced. This isn't political; there must be a serious racial element to this. I've never seen this level of vitriol and hatred over something so benign. I never would have thought it before, and always argued that no, this isn't about a black President, but now I'm not so sure. I seriously suspect that there is a large population in this country that just can't stand the idea of a black man as President, and that THAT is what is feeding so much of the exaggerated outrage.

Dick Gephardt's stupid comment in 1991 does not come close to the kind viciousness and hyperbole that I'm seeing today. There must be something more.

Posted by: Buddydog | September 3, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Well sorry I can't sit around and argue about your Messiah, I have a business to run. All your freeloader programs are relying on my taxes! Gotta go!

Posted by: jodi3 | September 3, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh - and one more thing about the "czars:" Stop it already.

Every President since Reagan has had "czars;" in fact, I believe he's the first one who developed the term with his "drug czar." It's just a shorthand word meaning an executive office dedicated to policy-making in that area. "Czar" is not even the official title. They have no legislative authority, and are more or less advisory in nature. "Czar" was the media-coined term and it stuck.

So stop it with the comparison to communist regimes (forgetting your history, of course, that Russian Tsars pre-dated communist rule). Just stop it; honestly.

Posted by: Buddydog | September 3, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

jodi3 - The speech IS related to their schoolwork! [It says the national address, at noon next Tuesday will “challenge students to work hard, set education goals and take responsibility for their learning.”] Ummm, sounds like a direct connect to schoolwork to me.... Even the materials on the DoE website are all related to their schoolwork and I haven't seen anything (other than speculation) that his speech is connected to anything other than schoolwork. BTW, last I checked, you don't get to go over the lesson plans of your kids' teachers before the schoolyear starts, so how do you know what THEY'RE saying to your kids daily??? Exactly..you don't.

Posted by: HUdeeva | September 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Jodi3 -

This is THE PRESIDENT. Since when in American history has the nation not allowed the President to speak to school children? School kids don't recognize political parties (unless their wackjob parents have taught them hateful lessons). They just know that the President is a leader of the nation, and they know that out of respect for authority they should listen in when he speaks. It's only adults who fall into the us-vs-them mentality of political parties.

Bush spoke to schoolchildren all the time, so did the First Lady. No problem there. Every President does it, and it's not a problem.

To say that you have to "screen" what the President might say to your kids shows an amazing partisan blindness and disrespect for our country's institutions. Whatever your party, the President is the President, and deserves more respect than that.

Posted by: Buddydog | September 3, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

FYI, from Czar Jones bio:
When he graduated law school, Jones gave up plans to take a job in Washington, D.C., and moved to San Francisco instead.[11] He got involved with Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a group explicitly committed to revolutionary Marxist politics[12] whose points of unity were revolutionary democracy, revolutionary feminism, revolutionary internationalism, the central role of the working class, urban Marxism, and Third World Communism.

This is why we don't trust Obama. They whitewashed Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers, so look what the big "O" knew he could get away with.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

As a parent, I totally agree I have a right (and responsibility) to have a say in what my kids hear and see. But really, what are you all so scared of your kids hearing? Thus far, the only substantive things anyone has written was Jodi:

"FOR THOSE OF YOU LUCKY ENOUGH NOT TO HAVE BEEN ABORTED UNDER OUR GLORIOUS WOMEN'S RIGHT'S AGENDA OF WHICH I APPROVE"

Now, if that's the only thing anyone is willing to offer, I will move on and not waste my time on this thread anymore. I'm happy to have a debate if people are being rational, but c'mon...

Posted by: db_in_va | September 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

jodi3 wrote: "During the speech;
What is the President trying to tell me?"

Go home and ask my parents if they are republucans.

jodi3 wrote: "What is the President asking me to do?"

Kill them if they answer "yes".

jodi3 wrote: "Students might think about the following;
What specific job is he asking me to do?"

Save the country.

jodi3 wrote: "After the speech;
What do you think the President wants us to do?"

Kill all the republicans.

jodi3 wrote: "Does the speech make you want to do anything?"

Kill my republican parents.

jodi3 wrote: "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?"

Oh yea. No dessert last night was a bad mistake mommy!

jodi3 wrote: "Sorry, but Liberals didn't like Bush even addressing the students."

That's because he could not form complete sentences. Bush was a bad role model at every level.

jodi3 wrote: "They said it was a waste of resources."

No, they said having "Bush" speek would be a waste of resources.

jodi3 wrote: "What if he had this assignment sent out to the schools?"

We would have wondered what Rove and Cheney were up to.

jodi3 wrote: "Nobody can feel good about being a hypocrite, so admit that if you are against his agenda you don't want him giving instructions to your child."

Only if I were a republican. Then I'd have to hide all the knives.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 3, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

...The activities are packaged right on the department’s home page with an explanation of what is being promoted as a “historic” speech by Obama. It says the national address, at noon next Tuesday will “challenge students to work hard, set education goals and take responsibility for their learning.” It can be watched live on the department website...

The above paragraph from the article is correct and I downloaded/read both PDF files. Yet, it amazes me that it's conveniently left out the Department of Education made revisions to the questions when parents and conservative politicians asserted their dismay with the planned message to our children. Below are two articles that discuss these subtle changes in an attempt assuage our concerns.

WH withdraws call for students to 'help' Obama - September 02, 2009
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/02/wh-withdraws-call-students-help-obama/?feat=article_top10_read

&

Revision: Education Dept. Changes Suggested Classroom Activities for Students Who Watch Obama’s Speech - Thursday, September 03, 2009
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53495

Very convenient indeed...

Posted by: Conservator | September 3, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Conservator, it is because of the spotlight we "right-wingnut jobs" shone on his so-called "lesson plan" that they changed. Now let's shine the light on his shadow government of radical commisars, I mean czars.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

jhr1, don't you mean us "right-wing extremist terrorists" who are spreading disinformation Obama-Care? BTW, I just increased the amperage on my "spot light of truth" to ensure it's bright enough to keep up with this administration and the liberal bias that permanents the MSM in supporting the unitary President. Oh my bad, that only pertained to the Bush Administration - LOL.

Posted by: Conservator | September 3, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

JHR/Conservator/others - I know you don't like the president (putting it mildly) and anything to do with the Left. Which is fine and I respect your opinion. I'm really just trying to get some insight as to your thinking.

You completely disagree with his thoughts on health care and economic recovery and EVERYTHING else, but what do you honestly think his motivation is? I felt the same way about Bush, but I was of the opinion that what he was doing was right for the country. I thought his methods and approach were completely wrong, but I at least recognized what he was trying to do. Do you (and others on the Right) think he's intentionally trying to harm the country?

Posted by: db_in_va | September 3, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I and others think he is intentionally trying to change it into, at the very least, a European-style Socialist, cradle-to-grave state. And yes, I think that will harm the country. I don't believe that he has the same sensibilities as I do about the nature of America. He apologizes constantly for our existence, investigates our guys vis-a-vis the terrorists, and appoints a shadow government of "czars", unconfirmable,no questions asked, to run every issue. We let him slide with Wright and Ayers, and he is now so emboldened as to appoint an avowed communist, Van Jones as one of these czars. Understand?

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

jhr, thanks for your well-stated response. I disagree with you on most of your points, but I appreciate your clarity (and thank you for not saying 'death panels'). I hope you can see that those of us on the other side had similar feelings about Bush. How you feel about his czars running every issue is how I feel Cheney ran the exec branch (no-bid contracts, signing statements, etc).

What really worries me is the tone of the frustration on your side. Your rationalized point of view is being completely drowned out by the nonsense. This school speech, for instance, is a prime example. It has NOTHING to do with socialism....it's the president speaking to school kids. A junior level staffer wrote some questions - the same type of questions in every reading/listening comprehension drill. The questions weren't vetted first, and they got changed.

Posted by: db_in_va | September 3, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you on Cheney pulling things into his office. Didn't like it, said so. That doesn't make Obama's doing right though. I believe our level of frustration comes from the oblique nature of his promised "transparent" government, and the complicity of the mainstream media in that darkness. Think of the sheer nerve in trying to sell the congress (not the people, he wanted it passed before recess and without much debate) on the idea of health care reform as a cost-saving measure, and his calling the CBO director into his office for complaining.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

jhr1 wrote: "I and others think he is intentionally trying to change it into, at the very least, a European-style Socialist, cradle-to-grave state. And yes, I think that will harm the country."

I have to ask, why do you think this when he has not spoken of such a radical move? The health care reforms are reforms, not medicare for all, and even medicare for all would not be VA-like medical care for all with government owned facilities and government doctors. If you can't explain why medicare is bad and socialist you should also have a hard time explaining why health care reform is bad, assuming you leave out the lies.

jhr1 wrote: "I don't believe that he has the same sensibilities as I do about the nature of America. He apologizes constantly for our existence, investigates our guys vis-a-vis the terrorists, and appoints a shadow government of "czars", unconfirmable,no questions asked, to run every issue."

He has apologized for Bush's alienation of our friends, which was wrong for Bush to do, but other than that I haven't heard him apologize for America's existence. Isn't that a little over the top?

And the investigations into illegalities during the interrogations is a criminal matter. Are we a nation of laws or of men?

Maybe its the word "czar" that is bothering you. Bush and president's before him has experts running various projects within government, one of the more famous was Hillary's health care initiative. And Bush did not want to deal with the wars on a daily basis and wanted to appoint a war czar. Why can't Obama appoint a czars but Bush could appoint one for something that was actually Bush's job as commander in chief?

jhr1 wrote: "We let him slide with Wright and Ayers, and he is now so emboldened as to appoint an avowed communist, Van Jones as one of these czars. Understand?"

Let him slide? Not from the firey rhetoric I heard during the campaign. I found the Ayers linkage very thin while the strong linkage between Bush and Ken Lay of Enron, a corporate terrorist if ever there was one, was not an issue for conservatives.

So what I see is a hyping of little things Obama is doing that Bush did, in his own way and in a big way, but what Bush did was ignored, probably because you had complete trust in him. The only explanation I can come up with is a paranoia of Obama and/or the democrats. A paranoia that has no place in history, no factual evidence, no rationale other than it being repeated on conservative media day and night. So to me, the vitriolic anti-Obama histeria seems the product of demented minds. Understand?

Posted by: Fate1 | September 3, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I understand that we disagree on everything.

Posted by: jhr1 | September 3, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are Against: Public schools, healthcare for all, Social Security, Medicare, the environment, public transportation (except highways), American made cars, jobs, anything the Democrats propose, anything Obama. All socialism.

Republicans are For: War, deficit spending, tax cuts for the rich, spending more money for defense than all other countries in the world combined, torture (except John McCain), and, and, and?????

No wonder I vote for Democrats.

Posted by: chucky-el | September 3, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

jhr1 wrote: "I understand that we disagree on everything."

Now I disagree with that. Most people agree over 90% of the time. It seems this anti-Obama and Pro-Bush mentality becomes so all or nothing that it just seems we disagree on everything. I was FOR attacking Iraq but not for Bush's reasons and not before the inspectors had been given time on the ground, where the absennce of WMD might have prevented the war. My beef with Saddam was he was keeping our resources there, indefinitely, as protection for Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and others. Containment is one thing but that was very expensive and it needed to end. But Bush really screwed it up.

I'll bet we agree on many other things, non-hypothetical things, such as roads, schools, the electric grid's issues, etc. What I'm surprised people cannot agree on is the sad state of health insurance coverage. I lost my job in 2001 and with it my family's health insurance. Luckily it only took 2 months to find a new job but during that time I worried about anyone getting sick, and had to deal with Cobra, no income except unemployment benefits, watched the college fund drain no tknowing when I would find a job, etc. Yet I did not have to worry about my car insurance, home insurance or other insurance because none of those was tied to a job. Its an insane system and its just luck you don't get caught inbetween jobs with a major health issue. I am truly mystified why some think the current system is the best in the world, especially when we are not the top in health care metrics like longevity or infant mortality.

So, while I think we agree on 90% of the time, the other 10% is purely political considerations, and there we seem to be 180 degrees apart. How can that be when we live in the same world? Again, I think its due to a paranoia and not on the part of liberals, who are not screaming and lying about proposals. A fear of Obama, and not his proposals or their details, is what I see is the problem, and that is irrationally paranoid in a democracy.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 3, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The president is using this speech to promote his agenda. Sorry for the inconvenient fact.

Posted by: jhr1
----------------------------------
So Reagan was not using a speech (televised for the next 3 days) to a middle school to promote his "agenda"? When in the midle of his question and answer session Reagan began talking about lower taxes and why they were needed?

" Today, to a degree never before seen in human history, one nation, the United States, has become the model to be followed and imitated by the rest of the world. But America's world leadership goes well beyond the tide toward democracy. We also find that more countries than ever before are following America's revolutionary economic message of free enterprise, low taxes, and open world trade. These days, whenever I see foreign leaders, they tell me about their plans for reducing taxes, and other economic reforms that they are using, copying what we have done here in our country.


I wonder if they realize that this vision of economic freedom, the freedom to work, to create and produce, to own and use property without the interference of the state, was central to the American Revolution, when the American colonists rebelled against a whole web of economic restrictions, taxes and barriers to free trade. The message at the Boston Tea Party -- have you studied yet in history about the Boston Tea Party, where because of a tax they went down and dumped the tea in the Harbor. Well, that was America's original tax revolt, and it was the fruits of our labor -- it belonged to us and not to the state. And that truth is fundamental to both liberty and prosperity."

There is more, including the Reaganomics answer given to students. You can find it here:
http://mediamatters.org/blog/200909030020

But that's okay, right? Because Reagan is a Republican? Preaching to schoolchildren the economic philosophy that the rich get richer and the poor can support them and their corporations through the taxes the poor have to pay?

More Republican HYPOCRISY!

Posted by: alysheba_3 | September 3, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

[Besides all of that, none of us have even HEARD the speech yet! So all of this bantering is just speculation. Let's revisit this discussion next week after the speech has been delivered and determine if it was detrimental or not.]

HUdeeva, I hope you are not teaching in my kids' schools. If we wait until next week to determine if the speech is detrimental, it will be too late. The harm will be done. Here is another solution: the President can record the speech, superintendents and principals can review the speech (the normal process in most school districts), and then the schools can show the video.

Posted by: mdmom5 | September 3, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

mdmom5 wrote: "HUdeeva, I hope you are not teaching in my kids' schools. If we wait until next week to determine if the speech is detrimental, it will be too late. The harm will be done."

Well this explains the party of NO pretty well. If they let Obama do ANYTHING, even give a speech, it may be "too late"!

Just what are you afraid of? That the man will turn your children into monsters? I can't imagine living under the fear you must feel, where words must be feared and the president's words must be screened before children can hear them. I'm no shrink, but I think the word "delusional" might apply here.

mdmom5 wrote: "Here is another solution: the President can record the speech, superintendents and principals can review the speech (the normal process in most school districts), and then the schools can show the video.

Funny how this NEVER came up in any previous presidential speeches. Just admit it, you consider Obama to be a monster, out to eat your children. His every action, even words, must be screened because they can harm even children. You are a poor American mdmom when you want to censor the President of the Uniter States of America because you feel his words could harm your children.

Or maybe its just pure paranoia. Just how did you get this way anyway? I can't remember a single incident where ANY republican or democrat's presidential speech was asked to be reviewed first.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 4, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Valerie-
It doesn't matter what you particular political view point is, or who the President is - Regan, Bush, Clinton, Obama - whoever.
Enough is enough.
I want the federal government OUT of my school district.

The Executive branch of the federal government has no business whatsoever in my local school district.

My local school board is answerable to the local taxpayers - not to Washington.

It’s high time that the people( like you) who can’t see what’s wrong with ANY President or the federal government meddling in school curriculum take a trip back to 9th grade civics class.

Posted by: grannymiller | September 4, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

This is all just more racist fearmongering about our first black president. These white republicans simply don't want to accept the fact that a black man can be a true American, or a leader, or president. And their visceral hate-filled reactions remind me of the reactions of their forefather's to school integration or the prospect of interracial dating.

They call Obama a "socialist," which is just code for "un-American." They call him a "lefist," yet he has been begging for their ideas and participation, to no avail.

I don't appreciate those who who call our president a socialist and a nazi. This really has to stop. It's like Sarah Palin's campaign rallies have never ended.

Posted by: warrenjasper | September 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

This is really insane. Let's put aside all the politics. How crazy are people to think that one speech (that will released ahead of time as noted here) can indoctrinate someone? Young people are smart. http://theloop21.com/news/relax-paranoid-parents-students-are-too-smart-be-indoctrinated-one-obama-speech

Posted by: rl11 | September 4, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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