The president is broadcasting a nationally televised speech on Tuesday to school children in Arlington, VA, urging children "to set goals, work hard, and stay in school." The White House is hoping that schools around the country will show the speech, and the Department of Education has prepared a "menu of classroom activities" to encourage student engagement.
That's not the stupid part. The stupid part comes in with the reactionaries getting their shorts in a bunch because they fear the president will be indoctrinating their children into socialism and recruiting them to liberal thinking.
"As the father of four children," Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer said, "I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology." It is an "infuriating...invasive abuse of power."
Seriously, Mr. Greer? What part of "stay in school" and "set goals" is socialistic, I wonder?
It's remarks like that one from Republican leadership that makes me think that the party is going off its rocker. I also heard a commenter on WGN Radio (can't find a link) suggest that Obama addressing schoolchildren reminded him of how Fidel Castro indoctrinated school children when he first took power in Cuba. I guess he's forgetting that the first President Bush did the same thing in 1991; and Ronald Reagan broadcast a Q&A with high school students in 1986, according to PolitiFact.com, a political fact-checking website.
I think if President Obama said he was planning to buy his daughter a teddy bear, the Far Right would somehow connect it with socialism. If he said he was naming his new dog Clifford, they'd say, "Oooo, Clifford--the big RED dog! He's a communist!" If he said he liked to read the book before seeing the movie, they'd say, "AHA! He discriminates against film-makers!"
People like Mr. Greer should realize that it does not help their cause to make much ado about nothing. Disagree about the health care bill; argue about how to handle the war in the Middle East; criticize him for his handling of the economy with the stimulus package. But going on the attack because the President wants to encourage kids to do well in school?
It's just stupid and desperate.
UPDATE: Here is the text of the speech that President Obama will be giving tomorrow. Go ahead. Try and find something in there about socialism or promoting liberal values.