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More Idiocy from the GOP

September 3rd, 2009

Here’s the problem: when the GOP and the right wing in general acts so astonishingly insane on a regular basis, when it makes such egregious lies with amazing shamelessness and regularity, it becomes harder and harder to focus on the merely stupid and insipid stuff. Think about it: if your neighbor spent the entire summer running up and down the street half-naked, screaming like a banshee that aliens from Neptune are eating his brain, and hitting passers-by over the head with tupperware, it suddenly seems irrelevant that his dog pooped in your front yard.

Nevertheless, let’s see what dog poop is being issued from the GOP today. According to a press release from the Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer, Obama cannot speak to children. Well, maybe that’s too strong–Greer said that he “support[s] educating our children to respect both the office of the American President and the value of community service.” And certainly, Obama’s speech, which will emphasize the importance of staying in school and getting an education, seems like a great thing to talk to children about. Okay, that all sounds quite reasonable. So, what’s the problem? Well, essentially the rest of Greer’s press release.

Greer claims that Obama’s speech is an “invasive abuse of power” which will be “using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda.” He says that kids will be forced to “agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.”

Greer goes on to say that “taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology,” because “school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President.” (It even feels almost beside the point to mention that Bush racked up way more debt than Obama.)

How exactly a speech about staying in school, not dropping out, and studying hard is “socialist ideology” and “liberal propaganda” is not exactly explained. Apparently Greer believes that the stated topic of the speech is a ruse, and once Obama has the poor children penned up, sitting in chairs with special devices keeping their eyelids open a la Clockwork Orange, he will put them under a hypnotic spell and start drilling into them on health care and economic agenda talking points.

Some of his motivation peeks through when he complains that “Democrats” refuse to allow prayer in school and that “Christmas Parties are now Holiday Parties.” I could go on about both of those points, and have in the past. But to stay on topic, Greer clearly is annoyed that he cannot institute forced religious indoctrination in public schools–his use of the word “indoctrinating” in the last paragraph is another hint to that effect. More telling is his reference to children being “ostracized” by teachers and classmates–that’s almost lifted verbatim from the argument against school prayer, and little tickles a conservative more than to smugly use his opponents’ arguments against them, oblivious to how nonsensical the application is.

Of course, the primary reason for this is to take yet another jab at Obama. I don’t think that Greer, Florida Governor Crist (who posts the press release on his site), or anyone else in the GOP truly believes a word of this; they just want to smear Obama some more, and don’t give a crap about the fact that the speech could actually have a positive effect on school kids. Nope, it’s way more important to take Obama down than let him be a positive influence on the young–which is probably what they really fear, deep down, that their kids might actually get to listen to Obama and they might think he’s not so bad after all. We can’t have that. Nor can they allow Obama to be effective in his job.

A bigger problem here is that many parents seem to be believing this claptrap; there are reports nationwide of parents threatening to keep their kids home from school on that day. Yes, these are probably the birthers and so forth, but the media won’t touch on that, and will instead grant yet another GOP smear campaign legitimacy.

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  1. September 4th, 2009 at 10:34 | #1

    For the most part I agree with you. It is absolutely ridiculous that the President is being criticized for reaching out to the schools. I think it is imperative for children to take education much more seriously. If even one kid gets inspired by this broadcast, then it is already a plus. But it is more than just an outreach, it is a challenge. Because everybody knows that there will be kids in the crowd that argue against what Obama says and thats a good thing too. It is important for our youth to be aware of their President, whether they agree with him or not.

    The flip side is if he goes into propagating actual issues to students who have not yet learned to think critically yet. Therefore, it is a worry that he may in a matter of speaking “brainwash” the younger demographic.

    However, barring the probability of him lobbying to the children, I think that for the most part, this is a beneficial experience that should be embraced.

  2. Luis
    September 4th, 2009 at 16:04 | #2

    I agree. If Obama segues into telling the kiddies why his health care plan is so good, like why we need a public option, then that’s not really appropriate; there’s no need for him to go into that subject with that audience, however good it might be for young people to get exposure to the subject in general.

    Now, if he references such issues only to the extent of saying they’re important, but does not try to sell the kids on a specific set of policies, then that’s OK–it’s encouraging them to be informed, not telling them to take a position. If he just says, “It is important that you read the news, study current events, follow what’s happening in government, and inform yourselves on issues like health care because these things affect your lives directly,” that’s great. If he says, “My public option is necessary because it means that there will be competition to lower insurance prices,” then that’s not OK–it smacks of influencing children as a way to influence parents, and would not be cool.

    My understanding, however, is that he’s going to focus on why school is important, and not stray into specific policy issues before Congress. And I think that his critics know this full well and are just using this for their own political play of the day.

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