I got attacked by the Village Voice today for expressing my rather nasty response to the ObamaDay speech to schoolchildren and the accompanying ideological White House-dictated Department of Education lesson plans for kids (e.g., “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals“).
I don’t particularly mind being attacked by the Village Voice. I mean, at least they spelled my name right, as they say.
If anything, what bothers me is the smarmy, “They’re unhinged and we’re not”) tone of the article.
When Democrats act as if they aren’t the ones who are unhinged, just recognize that Democrats have a terrible addiction to “being unhinged,” and that a big part of any addiction is denial.
First, yes, Reagan and Bush 1 gave speeches to students. But unless you can show that their speeches were accompanied by having children engage in scripted White House campaigns to create posters and write themselves letters asking,“What can I do to help the president?” it is anything but the same thing. Rather, Presidents Reagan and Bush managed to give speeches to kids about school without lowering themselves into self-serving propaganda, as the Obama administration clearly tried to do.
[Update: it has since been brought to my attention that Reagan’s and Bush’s speeches did in fact contain certain political statements. Barack Obama’s own speech has a fair amount of political ideology expressed in the form of rather transparent innuendo.]
Discussion questions that the White House provided to the Department of Education to pass on to public teachers included the following: “What is President Obama asking me to do?”, “What is President Obama challenging me to do today?” “What did President Obama attempt to inspire me to do?”, “What are the three most important words in today’s speech?” How does that NOT sound like propaganda?
Second, I would point out that my article – “unhinged” as it might be – nonetheless documented repeated instances of liberals using children for political purposes including this shocking video that simply don’t have any parallels with Reagan or Bush unless you can document otherwise.
Third, I document a teacher in a public school browbeating a child to support Barack Obama and renounce his support for John McCain. Please watch it before you ridicule the prospect over worrying about the Obama-dictated Dept of Education agenda.
I made the point in my article, “If Obama just wanted to do a brief public service announcement and call upon kids to stay in school and study harder, nobody would have a problem with it.” And that’s exactly correct. The problem is that a LOT more was clearly going on. Even the Obama White House was forced to admit that there was something wrong with the appearance of the proposal they crafted for the Dept of Education to provide to teachers.
When I can document government teachers trying to brainwash public school children, I think I have a right to wonder about what teachers who will be all alone with children will do in the hour following the Obama speech.
As I say in my article, “The Obama speech to the children will very likely sound innocent and innocuous. But in the liberal public schools – which are and have been laboratories for leftist activism, it won’t be innocent or innocuous at all. Unionized Government Teachers will be free to spin their own agendas onto Obama’s speech.”
If you think that is so impossible, Please watch the video I cite above to see otherwise.
Now, having brought out those little factoids, it turns out that there is more to say: namely, when George H.W. Bush gave his speech in 1991, Democrats turned their ideological reaction to it into the Spanish Inquisition, Part Deux.
When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
09/08/09 7:11 AM EDT
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.
With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. “The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. “And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.'”
Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush’s appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. “The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC,” Ford began. “As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event.”
Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. “The speech itself and the use of the department’s funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal,” the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. “The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda.”
That didn’t stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it “cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers’ money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. — while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters.”
Lost in all the denouncing and investigating was the fact that Bush’s speech itself, like Obama’s today, was entirely unremarkable. “Block out the kids who think it’s not cool to be smart,” the president told students. “If someone goofs off today, are they cool? Are they still cool years from now, when they’re stuck in a dead end job. Don’t let peer pressure stand between you and your dreams.
So thanks for reminding us of when George Herbert Walker gave a speech to schoolchildren, Democrats. It’s a reminder of what loathsome hypocrites you truly are.
Bush 1 gave an innocuous speech to schoolchildren that was utterly bereft of the Obama-style propaganda utilizing the Department of Education to coerce teachers into brainwashing the little darlings under their charge immediately after the speech. Yet the Democrats came completely unglued anyway.
And yet, how the liberals roll their eyes when Republicans offer up what amounts to a FAR tamer response.
Gephardt’s replacement for Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is hardly out there demanding an answer to the question, “Who’s Paying For Obama’s Education Speech?” And given that Obama’s speech is far more grandiose, and going out to far more schools than Bush’s ever did, you can bet that TAXPAYERS will be forking out a whole lot more than Bush’s $26,000. Not that these Democrats will care.
So when you reflect on how the mainstream media reported on how unhinged conservatives are over a “similar” event to what George Bush 1 did, just realize that – like the propagandists they are – they aren’t giving you any of the context that lets you know the truth.
Not only did Democrats react to the Republican President’s speech, but they reacted far more savagely.
It helps to know the truth.
It also helps to know that you will rarely ever get the truth from the mainstream media.
Tags: Bush 1, cost to taxpayers, Department of Education, discussion questions, General Accounting Office, George H.W. Bush, Gephardt, Investigation, Lamar Alexander, Obama, Reagan, school children, schoolchildren, speech, what they can do to help the president, William Ford