Archive for Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Furor over Obama speech typifies polarization

September 8, 2009


— The furor over President Barack Obama’s start-of-school speech to the nation’s students — challenging them to work hard, earn good grades and stay in school — typifies the country’s rift over politics and social issues.

It’s certainly an unwelcome distraction as the president prepares to address both houses of Congress and the nation Wednesday about his embattled attempt to overhaul the health care system, which has taken a hammering from Republicans and some middle-of-the-road Democrats.

Dating back to his campaign for president, some Obama opponents have tried to paint him as a “socialist.” Since winning the White House, the attacks have continued over his attempts to invigorate the economy.

Far-right critics now charge that Obama would use his back-to-school remarks today to indoctrinate youngsters into his alleged “socialist” agenda.

Many school districts have decided not to show the speech, partly in response to parental concerns.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called that “just silly” during a Sunday television interview. He said the text of the speech would be on the White House Web site Monday and that watching the address was voluntary. The Lawrence School District has given students the choice to opt out of watching the speech.

Some Obama critics are sparing no efforts to diminish his presidency — piling on such distractions as he prepares for the critical health care address — hoping that a defeat of the overhaul will tarnish his administration. That, the thinking goes, could open the way for Republicans to make a comeback in next year’s midterm elections.


BrianR 8 years, 8 months ago

It also typifies how mainstream "crazy" has become.

bondmen 8 years, 8 months ago

"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."

Stuart Evans 8 years, 8 months ago

but bondmen, this is completely different. H.W. wasn't the 2nd coming of Christ.

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

2nd coming of christ...... yeah, anything after bush/cheney indeed feels biblical.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 8 months ago

Ah the Bushes...I know they are championed for being Republicans, but H.W., while not really evil, comes from a long line of people who put family ahead of country. That's all well and good as long as you aren't trying to be president. Oh, oops! Sam, Prescott, the Walkers, Harrimans...bigger fans of themselves than of the good ol' USofA. But not above using tools of government to further enrich themselves. Having said all that, I think any speech of this nature by anyone in this office would be vilified by whatever opposition. If it were a Republican, they would be accused of trying to indoctrinate the kiddos with their "fascist" ideologies. If it were a Democrat, "fascism" is replaced with "socialism".

The best bet is to allow kids to be indoctrinated by their parents so that you see small children acting and saying and doing the things you can find at any number of public events--with no understanding of what they are saying or doing (not unlike Phelps children in Top-city). Honestly, I think you should have to be about 25 before being able to vote anyways. When I was 18, I voted for Perot. What does that say about my understanding of politics circa 1992?--that I didn't have a clue!

momfromlawrence 8 years, 8 months ago

I think that if Obama wants to give a speech to the students, that is great. But why not do it in the evenings when the family can watch it together? I know teachers are busy doing their teaching and to have an extra distraction in their busy day is not helpful. Besides, after the speech, the students will be either annoyed by it or chatty because of it. This will eliminate at least an hour of the students working day. And in the secondary schools, they can't afford to miss this time.

As for the 2nd coming of Christ? I think he is the anti-Christ and a terrorist. After all, he has two brothers who are known terrorists.

fairylight 8 years, 8 months ago

momfromlawrence (Anonymous) says… "As for the 2nd coming of Christ? I think he is the anti-Christ and a terrorist. After all, he has two brothers who are known terrorists."

Really? Would you mind sourcing that for me please?

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

Have some sauce, Mr. Gander. The goose loved it. “I'm sure Democrats would prefer that we forget how they reacted to former president GHW Bush's speech to school kids back in 1991. They didn't just express outrage. They investigated and held hearings on it.”

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 8 months ago

"I hear Obama's getting ready to lower the voting age to twelve soon. Like right in time for the next election."

Ah, it's too bad for you that he isn't lowering it to ten so that you can vote.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

Give it a rest, folks. What is so bad about the POTUS telling America's youth to stay in school, work hard and learn something. And the teaching materials consist of kids setting goals in their lives and finding 10 steps to help them achieve those goals. I just don't get the overblown negativity.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

Shouldn't the Regurgicans be concentrating on saving their Party instead of constantly trying to tear the Dems down? It's not like he's lying to our kids to send us into an unwanted war.

Matt1958 8 years, 8 months ago

momfromlawrence (Anonymous) says… “As for the 2nd coming of Christ? I think he is the anti-Christ and a terrorist. After all, he has two brothers who are known terrorists.”

You are a liar, and a disgusting human being. While I can respect persons expressing discontent with some of Obama's policies, I put your pathetic bigoted comments in the same category as the nuts that claim that Bush planned 9-11 and killed 3000 Americans. "Lunatic Fringe........I know you're out there!

budwhysir 8 years, 8 months ago

Oh, so now the family that never has time to talk is going to sit down and review what they didnt want thier kids to hear??? My kids can listen to a speach, do an assignment and still come away with thier own view and belief system

somedude20 8 years, 8 months ago

momfromlawrence (Anonymous) says… “As for the 2nd coming of Christ? I think he is the anti-Christ and a terrorist. After all, he has two brothers who are known terrorists.”

I think for some, they are able to dislike/hate Obama just because of his race.

acg 8 years, 8 months ago

Man this is so sad. He wants to encourage kids to stay in school which can only be a good thing and yet the loonies and nutjobs just can't stop?! I used to care about politics and get involved in what was going on. I used to watch the news and read the papers and keep my eyes open. I took the last 10 months off of work, had a new baby, turned off the media, hung out with my kids and had some fun and I was so relaxed and not angry all of the time. What used to be healthy exchanges of ideas has become groups of idiots attacking each other and spewing hatred at each other because of differing political views. It's so sad and such a waste of time. I used to be guilty of it too. I'd get so mad when Dubya would do something stupid or Shooter would gun down a lawyer or something but you guys, seriously, stop listening to it and you'll feel so much better. You can't stop the machine from turning. You can't change other people's opinions. You can only love your friends and family, try to teach your kids right, and arm yourselves for whatever may be coming. :)

tbaker 8 years, 8 months ago

The democrats held hearings in congress and railed against President Bush when he spoke to the school kids. That was stupid then, and this behavior out of Mr. Obama's opponents is equally moronic now. To object to a man speaking to any audience BEFORE you've had a chance to hear what he has to say doesn't pass the common sense test. The only thing that can explain it is the fact there are a lot of Americans who simply don't trust the President, but that's nothing new. There's always a bunch of people who don't trust the president, regardless of who the president may be. So enough of the hypocrisy folks. There are cranks, loons, and hyper-partisan bone-heads on BOTH sides of this argument,and the the two major political parties are all too happy to fan the flames. Yet another great example of why the founders tried to ban organized political parties in this country. They are ruinous to our liberty.

fairylight 8 years, 8 months ago

"Well Damn, my sarcasm went to waste then. , Thanks for the laugh tho, even at my own expense.

"porch_person (Anonymous) says…


I believe momfromlawrence was making a joke.

Obama's brothers are not known terrorists. I'm a known terrorist and Obama's brothers are never at the meetings and they never sign up for softball."

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

but, but fox news tells it like it is, with no bias and they are fair and balanced. I know they are fair because they say so all of the time. plus they have hot chicks that read the news and talk about how we have the best health care system in the world! So, we are number 1 afterall, and China is just pretending to make all of our stuff. And, there are Old men in suits loudly expressing the opinions-er, I mean the REAL news talking over their guests, just like a free-speech society should be. And, now that Obama is out of power, we can just put in a real leader in his place-and get back to being #1 country in world

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

and if you want real liberty, watch fox news, because it is really true and fair and balanced, like our stock market and other american things and stuff.

meggers 8 years, 8 months ago

Here's the text of speech:

How dare the president try to brainwarsh our kids by tellinem to stay in skool, work hard, and LERN????

If they do that, they might turn out to be some commie pinko libral soshalist God-hatting radiculs!!!!! My kids don't need no stoopid lernnin. Jest lookitt how good I turnd out! .

sfjayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Astonishing how far the republican party has fallen.

Until they rid themselves of the shrill fringe of their party and come up with a platform of new ideas - they will go nowhere. They have alienated the entire center and most of the thinking people of the party. Sad.

jonas_opines 8 years, 8 months ago

"I think any speech of (any) nature by anyone in (any) office would be vilified by whatever opposition."

I thought I'd fix that for you, Roger.

It's like a two team sport event that never stops, except that they force the audience to pay and stay in the stadium.

The Bush Remake Middle East Offensive Drive for Team Republican stalls out! Team Democrat takes the ball. Wide left with the Speech to Children by Obama's fillibuster tactic and. . . Van Jones Fumbles!! Glenn Beck recovers for Team Republican and. . . runs the wrong way!! He takes the fumble and scores a point for the wrong team!! Team Democrat gets a point!! The score is 111,645,897 to 111,645,890, Team Democrat in the lead by a landslide!!! They have the mandate!!!

meggers 8 years, 8 months ago

I have to wonder if any of the parents that chose not to have their kids watch the speech at least have the good sense to feel stupid about their decision after hearing the speech for themselves.

One would like to think so, anyway.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 8 months ago

As long as they are red huh, Tom? Go team red!

jimmyjms 8 years, 8 months ago

"How many of you that criticize fox news actually watch it? "

I watch it all the time. It's hilarious.

Where else can you see something as ridiculous as Glenn Beck?

tkeagleblog 8 years, 8 months ago

Few thoughts. I guess I could see how some hard rights might not like the idea of Obama addressing their kids in school. However, I think you need to lighten up a little bit. I don’t think a 15 min speech is going to corrupt your kids. Right might be going insane. If I disagree with Obama, or don’t like his policies, I’m a racist. If I go to a tea party, I’m a racist. If I watch Fox News, I’m a racist. I think the left has gone insane as much as the right has.

jimmyjms 8 years, 8 months ago

tkeagle - those apples ain't oranges.

The left doesn't show up with guns or make up stories about manchurian candidates and death panels, with the tacit approval of the party leadership.

Going to a tea party doesn't make you racist. It just indicates that you're not that smart.

beatrice 8 years, 8 months ago

As Forrest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does."

And this uproar was just stupid. Manufactured outrage simply because Republicans are still upset that they have lost their political power.

tkeagleblog 8 years, 8 months ago

Jimmy I think they are more alike than you would like to think. They are Politics. Both sides need an overhaul. However, assuming that only one side makes up stories or lies to discredit the other is not smart.

Publicly showing that you Agree or Disagree with your governments idea’s or policies is your constitutional right, and what makes this country great. I would say it’s not smart just to sit back, not say anything, and let the government do what it wants.

As far as the guns, well as I said there is insanity on Both sides. And there are the left that call you a racist for the 3 items I listed.

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 8 months ago

The "far right" who so fears OUR President would do well to review Romans 13:1-7:

Submission to the Authorities 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.

7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

ksjayhawk74 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure all these parents who wanted to review Obama's speech beforehand and kept their kids from watching, probably ready each and every text book their kids get, front to back.

jonas_opines 8 years, 8 months ago

Boy, Right-thinker, you sure read a lot into the polling term "disapprove."

"Not nearly as upset as those who fell very, very deeply in love with Obama and voted for him with a feiry passion, only to see him flounder about and flail about and turn into a disaster"

How do you vote for someone with a "fiery passion?" Hold the ballot to your heart and sigh for a moment, then tear up?

beatrice 8 years, 8 months ago

Tom, thanks for actually proving my point. You have been complaining and whining since the election, without even attempting to actually give Obama a chance. Obama certainly isn't perfect, but then again, only those on the right ever really expected him to be.

Not wanting children to listen to the president is un-American and sad. Terribly, terribly sad.

So do you think the LIbertarian party will rise up to replace the Republicans as the second major party, or will it be a completely new party?

jonas_opines 8 years, 8 months ago

Oh for @#$%s sake, would you fools Please stop playing the race card! You don't do yourself any favors, and the idea that it's a universal truth to opposition is as stupid as most other universal truths.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.