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Obama’s Schoolchildren Speech

President Barack Obama, accompanied by members of Congress and school children, talks to astronauts on the International Space Station, Tuesday, March 24, 2009, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

President Obama is set to address the nation’s schoolchildren next week, presumably to propagandize them into his evil agenda of turning the country into Communist Russia (pronounced “roo-shuh”) and offing granny to save money on health care just as they do in his native Kenya. There are even instruction manuals to enlist the support of the teachers unions in brainwashing our youth.

Michelle Malkin has a huge exposé on this scandal:

Instead of practicing cursive, reviewing multiplication tables, diagramming sentences, or learning something concrete, America’s kids will be lectured about the importance of learning. And then the schoolchildren, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, will be exhorted to Do Something — other than sit in their seats and receive academic instruction, that is.

What is it that something they’re supposed to do?  They’re not saying but apparently they want the kids to figure it out for themselves.

The activist tradition of government schools using students as junior lobbyists cannot be ignored. Zealous teacher’s unions have enlisted captive schoolchildren as letter-writers in their campaigns for higher education spending. Out-of-control activists have enlisted their secondary-school charges in pro-illegal immigration protests, gay marriage ceremonies, environmental propaganda stunts, and anti-war events.

And that’s without the cult-inducing powers of a presidential speech!

Stephen Green would keep his son out of public school that day if his son were old enough and he urges you to do the same.

Nope, Obama can’t just say hey to the kiddies and encourage them to do their homework. He has to make this a — what does the Left call it? — a teachable moment. A speech-in, if you will. Teachers have even been given handy instructions on how best to integrate The One into the classroom.

AllahPundit thinks this is overreacting a mite,

One pap-filled 20-minute speech about working hard and serving others is so lethal a threat to tender minds that they have to be yanked off the premises for the day to shield them from it?

[...]

If this turns out to be some hamfisted attempt by The One to pitch his agenda to kids — which would be politically insane given the outcry it would cause, a sneak preview of which may be found here — there’ll be ample time for outrageous outrage later. For all the media fainting spells over Obama’s oratory, you can count on one hand the number of truly memorable lines he’s uttered; I doubt he’s going to come up with such a corker next week that kids will be planning their lives around it. Remember, this is the same guy who can’t sell universal health care, the virtual raison d’etre of the Democratic Party these days, to the Blue Dogs.

Steve retorts:

Yes, the speech itself will almost certainly be harmless. I don’t expect anyone’s kids to be coming home and berating their parents for being against this program or that agenda. I do expect Allah has it quite right, that this speech will be just another Daddy Speech, meant to encourage my son to work hard in school.

But you know what? The President of the United States — whether an Obama a Bush or a Lincoln — is not my son’s daddy. That’s my job. We’ve had enough nannystatism, and enough daddystatism, too.

I actually agree with every word of that. Granted, “stay in school” is such an innocuous message that it’s hard to object to its being presented.  But do we really need to add to the already inflated sense of the president of the United States as our national daddy?  The man’s in charge of one branch of the federal government; he’s not king.

Still, as Doug Mataconis points out, this is hardly new.  Why, Ronald Reagan himself gave such as speech. So did both Presidents Bush.  Indeed, Reagan went to far as to answer questions from the kiddies on federal budget priorities and gun control!

MichaelW thinks the whole thing is “creepy” and says it’s different than what Republican presidents have done.  For example, Bush 41 was telling kids to stay off drugs.  He sees a more nefarious agenda from Obama:

President Obama has already shown that he’s not above using children to advance his political agenda, so it’s not surprising that those opposed to his aims would be a bit skeptical of his speech. Adding to the wariness is the fact that he only seems to make these speeches when he needs help with bolstering his political capital (e.g. the “race speech” after Jeremiah Wright blew up in his face). After the battering his health care insurance reform plans took in August, it almost seems too convenient that he would suddenly want to address all the school kids in the nation, right about when he’s planning to try and save the one program he truly wants to enact.

But Allah’s right on this.  Not only is it hard to believe Obama is going to say anything that rises above the level of pabulum but, if he does, the national outrage will make the health care town halls look like love-ins.

I tend to agree with Joanne Jacobs that the whole thing is innocuous, if unlikely to much matter: “I think the president is going to ask kids to work hard in school and teachers will try to get them to pledge to work hard in school and most of them will work just as hard this year as they did last year.”

AP Photo

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Steve Verdon says:

    Ooooh, oooh I know, I know!!!

    Obama is going to use his super-cult inducing propaganda powers to get the kids to help the illegal immigrants carry the entire South Western U.S. back to Mexico!

    Well, except for Los Angeles because its on fire.

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  2. MichaelW says:

    But Allah’s right on this. Not only is it hard to believe Obama is going to say anything that rises above the level of pabulum but, if he does, the national outrage will make the health care town halls look like love-ins.

    Actually, I said the same thing, right in the very first paragraph of my post:

    In all honesty, I don’t have a big problem with Obama’s impending speech, primarily for tactical reasons. If he gives the speech that the right is worrying about (i.e. indoctrination towards his policy preferences such as universal health care, cap and trade, etc.) then his political world will crumble. Obama is smart enough to realize this. And I, as I expect are most American parents, am vigilant enough not to let such a message get too far with my kids. However, it’s the fact that any of us have to be on guard to such a speech that makes it creepy. Well, that and the President’s track record of seeking to use children to advance his own goals.

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  3. billindc says:

    Face it…the cast of characters above is going to freak out over virtually anything that Obama does….screaming is what you do when anger and bitterness have overcome ideas.

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  4. rodney dill says:

    “If your parents deny me my healthcare bill, you will all die of swine flu.”

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  5. Spoker says:

    I wonder why this used to be “paid political advertising” and now it is not.

    I guess if you redefine America, you get to redefine what is acceptable political behavior.

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  6. John Burgess says:

    Vocabulary acquisition item of the day:

    hyperventilation

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  7. sam says:

    Hmmm, perhaps the Republicans can get someone, say Michelle Bachman, to give the Repub reply. I’d tune in for that (creepy as it would be).

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  8. Ugh says:

    I do find it funny that people are complaining that Obama might use children to advance his political agenda, as if that’s somehow unique or especially pervasive with him, as compared to other Presidents and Presidential candidates.

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  9. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    My son is only eight and unless it involves super-heroes or goes “bang”, he couldn’t care less. For once, his ADHD will serve a usful purpose. I think I will keep him off his meds that day just to be sure.

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  10. brainy435 says:

    Obama keeps doing this to himself. The notice he released to schools to accompany his speech had a line suggesting teachers should have the kids write letters explaining what they could do to “help the President.” It’s so tone-deaf it’s almost a parody.

    Also, why would they plan to do this at a time when at least 2 large east coast city school districts won’t be in class yet? You’d think the supposedly tech-savy administration could at least use google.

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  11. btenney says:

    This would be a good time for Parents to warn their Kids about believing elected officials.
    If they are 10 Y. O. or less they will take the Parents message to heart. If they are Teens they aren’t going to listen to their Parents or the so called President.

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  12. btenney says:

    Any exposure that Obama has is better for the opposition than it is for Obama.
    I am hoping his speeches pre empt the favorite programs of all Voters.

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  13. Anderson says:

    Remind me again where Dubya was the morning of 9/11?

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  14. PD Shaw says:

    As a parent deciding between Stephen Green and James Brown, I have to follow the Godfather of Soul:

    So kids, stay in school
    Don’t be no drag
    Take a fool’s advise
    And stay out of that bag

    Tell me one more time, people now
    What do you say?
    Without an education
    You might as well be dead

    (Didn’t Nixon and Brown promote this song together, or am I misremembering?)

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  15. Charlotte says:

    Actually, despite the fact I dislike this President and his agenda, I think this will be fine. And yes, other Presidents have done this for whatever reasons.

    I do believe, however, that President Obama is not above using the children to get his message across and that is the part that is worrisome.

    Children are easily manipulated by others and thus need their parents. As long as President Obama doesn’t try to manipulate, and gets out a “fairly” innocuous message, I don’t think there is a problem. However, IF he starts to try to sell his healthcare plan, then the tea parties will look like school yard picnics.

    Actually, if I had school age kids at this point in time then I would either home school them or put them in private school. Schools are not like they used to be (i.e. places of learning.)

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  16. Gustopher says:

    I do think that there should be a Republican reply, broadcast in the schools, opposing Obama’s partisan “Stay in School” message.

    Michelle Bachman would be an excellent choice, encouraging children to leave school before graduating, not study, and for god’s sake, don’t pay attention in biology.

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  17. Triumph says:

    This is disgusting. The only reason that a President should be talking with kids is if he’s reading them “My Pet Goat.”

    Aside from that, this is Hitler-esque at its core.

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  18. Clovis says:

    Guess I don’t really care all that much, but I do feel a titch of concern at introducing more politicking into classrooms.

    Still and all, like Earth in the Hitch-hiker’s Guide, Mostly Harmless.

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  19. btenney says:

    Headline : Obama to expose himself to America’s Children.

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  20. TangoMan says:

    I do think that there should be a Republican reply, broadcast in the schools, opposing Obama’s partisan “Stay in School” message.

    No, the message should be “Stay in School but don’t let ideologues brainwash you” and then the Republicans can point to Obama and his Communist-Truther Czar, Van Jones, as proofs of concept.

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  21. JKB says:

    I think it is pretty funny that Obama has gotten himself into such moment that people don’t trust him alone with children. And yes, I know this is pushed by people on one side but the accompanying material from the Department of Education sure did confirm their fears. Coupled with the known proclivities of many teachers and education professionals to tout the lefty agenda it makes the fears credible.

    Why not a recorded talk to the kids that could be incorporated into the schedule where most convenient and include those no in classes yet? Not to mention, having the content revealed to parents beforehand. Kind of like the way all the president’s speeches are released before they are given.

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  22. just me says:

    I am not sure this is something to get all upset about. I remember watching all sorts of presidential addresses when I was a kid in the classroom. We also used to watch shuttle launches and other big events.

    My only objection is that we are marching everyone to an assembly-rather than it being a teacher choice as to time and place, and frankly what you might write for a 6th grade audience isn’t going to interest or keep the attention of a 1st grade audience. I just don’t see how this is going to be worth taking time out from real learning.

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  23. G.A.Phillips says:

    What about separation of school and state?

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  24. Grewgills says:

    My only objection is that we are marching everyone to an assembly-rather than it being a teacher choice as to time and place

    Wasn’t that the decision of your school or perhaps your district? It is a poorer choice than having students watching it on televisions in their classes where they can have reasonably sized discussions.

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  25. G.A.Phillips says:

    No, the message should be “Stay in School but don’t let ideologues brainwash you” and then the Republicans can point to Obama and his Communist-Truther Czar, Van Jones, as proofs of concept.

    You watching Beck right now? lololololol…..

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  26. davod says:

    Maybe some one can correct this, but I heard one commentator say that it was against the Department of Education’s mandate to issue direct instructions to schools.

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  27. PD Shaw says:

    It is a poorer choice than having students watching it on televisions in their classes where they can have reasonably sized discussions.

    My kids don’t go to a school with a TV in every classroom. I ask, where is the justice!?!

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  28. PD Shaw says:

    davod, the Obama administrating is inviting the schools to participate, there is no mandate as far as I can tell. I’ll be curious to see how many schools participate.

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  29. Herb says:

    I question the maturity of anyone who would keep their kids out of school because the president is speaking. Seriously…grow up.

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  30. floyd says:

    It’s not the act, it’s the source.
    I’m sure Chairman Mao’s speeches were mostly innocuous! Yet he too made himself the object of a ubiquitous personality cult.

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  31. An Interested Party says:

    So let’s see…the president has been compared to Hitler, Fascists, Stalin, Lenin, and now, Mao…what, no Satan comparisons? How disappointing…

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  32. G.A.Phillips says:

    So let’s see…the president has been compared to Hitler, Fascists, Stalin, Lenin, and now, Mao…what, no Satan comparisons? How disappointing…

    I think G.A.Phillips once said that he had heard that “all devils had blue lips”…..

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  33. Franklin says:

    The above tripe by Malkin et al is just another symptom of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

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  34. It’s not the President’s speech that is so appalling. That in itself is fine. The problem is the whole package as originally planned. Before the Dept. of Ed changed the PRE-K lesson plan it was primarily centered around Barack Obama.

    If anyone is delusional over the possibilities of what was originally planned here they only need look into Arne Duncan’s past attempts to use the Chicago school district to further a political agenda; for instance, his proposal to support a gay school in Chicago. So yes, people should be wary of these seemingly innocuous lesson plans.

    None of this makes Duncan a bad guy but you still have to keep an eye on all elected officials. The left doesn’t stop after getting shut down on their first, second and third attempt. Thus people should be vigilant and ask questions.

    The record is clear to me. The first version of the Pre-K lesson plan was certainly a bit open ended. This allows teachers to independently run with the theme and it is not out of the question to imagine some teachers running to the left; especially when the door has been kicked open by the Department of Ed.

    All of this is fair game for people that are wary of an administration that has proven time and time again that their agenda comes first.

    Anyone who thinks this wariness is a symptom of “Obama Derangement Syndrome” really hasn’t been paying attention.

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  35. Herb says:

    Anyone who thinks this wariness is a symptom of “Obama Derangement Syndrome” really hasn’t been paying attention.

    I’ve been paying attention and my original comment remains relevant: Grow up.

    Obama is not only the “opposition,” he is the President of the United States. Show some respect.

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  36. floyd says:

    aip;
    Yes and maybe Jim Jones too.
    The point that you so conveniently overlook is the reference to the power of celebrity which makes many people become affected enough to join a personality cult!
    Relax, it might finally become obvious when it comes crashing through the wall…..
    HEY! KOOL-AID !!!

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  37. I’ve been paying attention and my original comment remains relevant: Grow up.

    So I, and parents like me, are immature for paying attention to what is being taught to our kids in school? I think it’s the other way around.

    Do what you want with your kids; let the local bartender bring them up for all I care.

    I on the other hand will be a responsible parent and stay involved as much as I can. If that steps on your toes or hurts your feelings I guess you’ll just have to get over it.

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  38. Charlotte: Children are easily manipulated by others and thus need including their parents.

    Fixed. Remember, racism isn’t genetic. It’s learned.

    Terry Triphany:

    So I, and parents like me, are immature for paying attention to what is being taught to our kids in school? I think it’s the other way around.

    Do what you want with your kids; let the local bartender bring them up for all I care.

    Strawman much?

    Rather than sit your kids out, you could have a discussion with them about the speech after it occurs and reprogram them to your paranoid heart’s desire.

    Lots of things get talked about in school that people don’t agree with, starting with evolution. Unless parents home school, they are reinforcing personal beliefs in the surrounding hours, at church, and through their actions.

    I’m sure the majority of right wing deranged people will do a fine job of raging enough about “The One” that their children will be unaffected by any speech by Barack Obama.

    As someone mentioned above, it is absolutely hilarious in a “OMG, I can’t believe these people are this insane” kind of way to see the reaction to this.

    The unintended consequence of this is the further marginalization of an already marginalized party and a further poisoning of political discourse. Stay classy.

    You people need to use that remote control and stop watching Glenn Beck so much.

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  39. sam says:

    @GA

    I think G.A.Phillips once said that he had heard that “all devils had blue lips”…..

    Yeah, he did. Then we found his prayer:

    Dear lord lol I beseech thee lol to guide my steps lol as I walk through the valley of the shadow of lol Obama. Please lol lolrd, hasten the day when my tadpole does not shrivel lol when the lol annointed one comes on the tv. lol. Speaking of my lol tadpole, oh lord, lol, since that blue-lol-lipped devil as come on the scene lol, my tadpole has been more tad than pole lol…could you help it to regain its lol manly uprightness lol before the next tea party lol? There will be some lol pretty hot tea partyettes there lol and a limp tadpole will not put me in good standing, if you catch my drift lol. Amen lol.

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  40. DL says:

    You’re so right man, it’s innocuous. Now, take a bite of this harmless little apple -you’ll love the results -it will make you a new man, Adam – I guarantee it!

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  41. DL says:

    How many of these justifiably upset parents didn’t so much as whimper when the benevolent federal government gave them a small piece of their own tax money back to take control of their local education? What goes around, comes around.

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  42. [...] pulpit.”). On balance, I concur with James Joyner’s sarcasm in the first part of this post from yesterday regarding the reaction to the [...]

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  43. Charlotte says:

    Yes, it’s true that parents MAY manipulate their children.

    I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal for this speech to happen. Kids don’t remember things, really, like this. It’s generally the teachers who try to bring in the liberal agenda.

    I think it stems from the extreme distrust of this President, and his administration. This I totally understand.

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  44. James Joyner says:

    You’re so right man, it’s innocuous. Now, take a bite of this harmless little apple -you’ll love the results -it will make you a new man, Adam – I guarantee it!

    Actually, according to lore, it was Eve who was so coaxed. And the penalty was, what, getting tossed out of some boring ass garden and getting to live an unsupervised life of freedom?

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  45. Marty says:

    Wow…just wow.
    Even those commenters here who claim that it’s innocuous feel compelled to qualify it: “…but he really *is* a subversive”

    For example, we’ve had the President’s Council on Fitness since Eisenhower read a report that European kids were more fit than American kids (those damn Socialists again!), and 11 presidents since then have used the program in one way or another to promote fitness. If Obama proposed a program like this, our current paranoid opposition would likely find it an evil conspiracy as well.

    He’s smart, he’s the president, *and* he’s black. Get over it.

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  46. I think it stems from the extreme distrust of this President, and his administration. This I totally understand.

    This president?!?!11?! Where were you folks when the last president and his overlords were tearing up the constitution?

    Suddenly, NOW, you decide to “distrust this president.”

    DL: Someone mentioned above that nobody had compared Obama to Satan. Well, now I guess we’ve completed the evilist perfecta.

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  47. Alex Knapp says:

    This president?!?!11?! Where were you folks when the last president and his overlords were tearing up the constitution?

    You don’t get it, do you. Torturing innocent people on the off chance that it might stop a hypothetical attack is totally cool. Telling kids to stay in school, and asking them to encourage others to stay in school, too, is worse than 9/11.

    Duh.

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  48. You don’t get it, do you. Torturing innocent people on the off chance that it might stop a hypothetical attack is totally cool. Telling kids to stay in school, and asking them to encourage others to stay in school, too, is worse than 9/11.

    Ahhh. Thanks for clearing that up. :)

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  49. Davebo says:

    I don’t know what’s funnier.

    The folks who for decades have been pushing for school prayer complaining about Obama “indoctrinating” their kids.

    Or the fact that they are too ignorant to see the hilarity of it all!

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  50. Furhead says:

    This is, of course, overblown. But I do think the materials asking the kids to write an essay “what they would do to help President Obama” is a bit over-the-top. How about just what they would do to help the world, their country, or even just their school or family? I didn’t see the entire text, maybe it really is just meant to help the country, but it sounds just a little too specific for my tastes.

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  51. Furhead says:

    If anyone is delusional over the possibilities of what was originally planned here they only need look into Arne Duncan’s past attempts to use the Chicago school district to further a political agenda; for instance, his proposal to support a gay school in Chicago.

    You’re going to have to give another example. There is a real problem of gays getting harassed and beaten in school. Maybe you didn’t like that particular solution (in fact, *I* don’t like that particular solution), but all Duncan was trying to do was fix a problem.

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  52. Bitter Steevil says:

    Having read the original operational orders suggested teaching plan distributed by the Dept of Education, the speech was set up to be a beloved leader love fest. Fortunately my 10 yr old shocks me with his maturity and cynicism on political subjects so I don’t fear for his mind, I only worry that he may be ostracized on the first day of school for speaking his mind.

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  53. I only worry that he may be ostracized on the first day of school for speaking his mind.

    Well, if he’s as much of an ass as you seem to be from your comment, he probably will.

    But I’m sure he can find similarly brainwashed glibertarians to hang out with.

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  54. CableGuy says:

    The fact is, no one knows (or knew, when this brouhaha broke out) what is in the speech. It was the lesson plans accompanying the speech that gave me pause, particularly the ones asking “why you should listen to elected officials” and “what can you do to help the President” (I’m para-phrasing.) Even the White House agreed that those questions were “inartful” and removed them (completely, actually, which means that the statement was less “inartful” and more completely wrong.)

    They should have released the text of the speech with the lesson plan. This would have put the “inartful” questions in their proper context and alleviated some concern (as well as helping teachers make better lesson plans!)

    I guess what amazes me is how “inartful” this supposedly articulate White House message machine has been lately.

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  55. t was the lesson plans accompanying the speech that gave me pause, particularly the ones asking “why you should listen to elected officials” and “what can you do to help the President” (I’m para-phrasing.) Even the White House agreed that those questions were “inartful” and removed them (completely, actually, which means that the statement was less “inartful” and more completely wrong.)

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the way they were phrased, and that’s even if the previous occupant of the white house was talking. You are right that a lot depends on what is said, but from everything I’ve heard from news outlets, the speech is about staying in school and setting goals and working hard.

    “helping the president” in that instance could be something as simple as looking out for your fellow students who need help with school work, or encouraging them to work harder too.

    Hardly controversial.

    And give the guy some credit: there’s no way he would talk about HCR or another controversial topic like that in a speech to k-12 kids. You may hate him, but he’s not fucking stupid.

    They should have released the text of the speech with the lesson plan. This would have put the “inartful” questions in their proper context and alleviated some concern (as well as helping teachers make better lesson plans!)

    You are assuming the speech was available when the lesson plans were sent out. Speechwriters don’t have the same deadlines as lesson-plan writers, plus it’s different departments.

    I doubt the white house or the doe anticipated the amount of crazy that would spring up out of this event. But given the last eight months, I think they’re learning that lesson.

    sigh. i have three more years of this crap to look forward to.

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  56. Bitter Steevil says:

    From the Ministry of Education: “Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials…” his answer to that, as we reviewed it, was “because they don’t do the things they say.”

    From the Ministry of Education: “Why is what they say important?” his answer: “Because they are always lying and they don’t care because they are in charge”

    Can’t figure out where he gets it, , I spend all my time lecturing the older one who wastes his time on video games and cartoons.

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  57. Well, you’re doing a bang-up job in educating your children as citizens, bitter:

    “Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials…”

    because they write and sign bills that spend taxpayer dollars, and if you don’t listen to what they say, you can’t talk intelligently about how you disagree.

    “Why is what they say important?”

    See above. Also, because you will be paying for whatever they talk about with money and, sometimes, blood (see: Bush, Iraq, war in).

    I hope my kids never come in contact with yours, because I want them to be functional adults.

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  58. [...] The Washington Monthly Obama’s Schoolchildren Speech [...]

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  59. Bitter Steevil says:

    When they (both the Republicans and the Democrats) actually start doing the job they are elected to do, maybe a little more respect will be deserved. Right now they are passing 1000+ page bills written by special interest groups without even reading them, and have no desire to do so.
    Yes they spend tax payer money, and I teach my children that. I show then that this congressman used $200,000 in taxpayer money for tattoo removal.
    My son knows what they are supposed to be doing, and unfortunately he is being exposed to what they are actually doing. There aren’t many politicians that aren’t in someone’s pocket on either side, and both sides are pushing an agenda. We are stuck in the middle.
    Tell me that the circus that is occurring now is real government, where a 1000+ page bill is placed before congress and the president and the congressional leadership says pass it, don’t read it. That not acceptable if the Pres is G.W or B.H. We listen to the politicians, and they say: don’t read the bills that are being passed, just shut up and take it.

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  60. [...] Posted by j33 The Washington Monthly Obama’s Schoolchildren Speech All I took away from either link was this comment from the 2nd one: [...]

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  61. Brian L says:

    WE CAN’T LET IT HAPPENNNNNN! Quagmire told me Obama stole Stewie Griffin’s mind control device. We can’t let him use it on the children.

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  62. Bitter: This is where your lack of information is revealed. You’re not doing a very effective job of “teaching” your child if you believe what you just said. To wit:

    Yes they spend tax payer money, and I teach my children that. I show then that this congressman used $200,000 in taxpayer money for tattoo removal.

    Fact: Why don’t you teach them about how many congressmen get money from insurance companies? How much is contributed to presidential campaigns (dem and rep) from outside politically interested parties? How much is spent in the stimulus package for construction proejctds? How much of the bailout passed during GWB’s term went to Wall Street banks? How much states are having to cut social services because of shortfalls in tax revenues?

    There are a LOT of lessons to be learned about government budgeting that focus on important topics besides “tattoo removal” (wherever that comes from). $200,000 is a penny in the fed. budget (cue lame strawman spending argument about “pork barrel projects).

    Right now they are passing 1000+ page bills written by special interest groups without even reading them, and have no desire to do so.

    Facts: Right and Wrong. They are NOT passing a 1,000 page bill yet. There are three bills in the house and one bill in the senate and one that is still before the finance committee. Whichever gets passed by those chambers will go to reconciliation, then get voted on by both houses. If you mean “have no desire to do so” to mean Republican Sen. James Inhofe, then you’re right. Others *have* read it. So that’s a FAIL.

    where a 1000+ page bill is placed before congress and the president and the congressional leadership says pass it, don’t read it.

    Facts: Do you have a citation for someone saying “don’t read it”? Because if you don’t, it’s a lie. Re: 1,000 page bill, see above.

    Maybe a better idea would be sending your son back to the Schoolhouse Rocks series, because that’s apparently a much better reflection of the bill process than what you’re projecting here.

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  63. LFC says:

    Just more proof that there’s no reason to take the GOP seriously anymore. They were my party, back when it was run by people who actually thought, rather than a bunch of whiny babies who present arguments and evidence that would fall apart on an elementary school playground.

    And yes, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are goddesses to this bunch of silly saps. Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck are gods.

    Pathetic.

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  64. cejaxon says:

    For all those conservatives whining about the anodyne speech Obama is giving on the grounds that the government has no business trying to instill character lessons in students because that’s the parents’ job — what was all the previous wailing & gnashing of teeth about the lack of character education in public schools? Due to conservative pressure, my grade school daughter attends 6 1-hour assemblies/year extolling specific character traits (e.g., honesty). Essays get written. Awards are passed out. Far more frequently, the principal delivers little homilies on character with the morning announcements. On back to school nights, every teacher discusses how character building is incorporated into the curriculum. Why do my kids say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, if not because the school is trying to inculcate a personal attribute (patriotism) in them? Do conservatives now feel that is statism? Should the school stop organizing collections of items for care packages to the troops? & why did my older kids have to endure abstinence “education,” which wasn’t even honest about risk assessment, if it wasn’t because Christianists want public schools to be a vehicle for teaching moral values (theirs, at least — in my family & religion, we value intellectual integrity)?

    Sports teams all across the country get positive PR by sending stars to schools with exactly the same message as the president will give — stay in school, study hard, etc. Unlike Obama, most of these stars didn’t do much with education when they had the chance, but in any event, why is that kind of state-sponsored character education fine (even when the dispensers of said wisdom don’t walk the walk) but the president doing it isn’t?

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  65. Weary Old Woman says:

    This right-wing madness has some history on these shores; I’m thinking of the New England witch craze that ripped through the colonies just over 300 years ago. That too was an indulgence in unreason, cruelty, malice, and madness on a vast scale, with truly horrible consequences. They had clergymen and village gossips to fan the flames; we have Christian conservatives and talk radio. It’s pure insanity, and the saddest aspect of it is that there seem to be no grown-ups within the Republican leadership to put a stop to it before it spirals completely out of control (on the contrary, they seem to take delight in having a lynch mob at their command). This is not dissent: this is mass psychosis.

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  66. An Interested Party says:

    sigh. i have three more years of this crap to look forward to.

    Actually, it could very well be seven, so enjoy the fun, as this is only the beginning…

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  67. Webster says:

    Obama’s problem is that there’s no one in the White House who speaks “right wing crazy.” He needs to hire some teabagging whack-job to read over everything the White House is putting out to the public to find just which innocuous phrases, words or proposals will cause Beck World to lose their minds (again). No sane, rational, reality-based person can know just what will set these folks off. But you can guarantee something will. So head out to the next town hall meeting and hire one of these fine Americans. It’s like the saying goes: If you can’t understand their misplaced and ignorant aggression, hire one of them to put it in plain Bachmann-speak.

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  68. Jilli says:

    I’m more worried about kids having to deal with their idiotic parents than I am about having them hear the president speak. Their objections are delusional and just plain ridiculous. What is wrong with these people? Is their bitterness about a black president and with having Democrats in the white house that obtuse that they lose all sense or reason?

    This is just absolutely ridiculous.

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  69. If anyone is delusional over the possibilities of what was originally planned here they only need look into Arne Duncan’s past attempts to use the Chicago school district to further a political agenda; for instance, his proposal to support a gay school in Chicago.

    You’re going to have to give another example. There is a real problem of gays getting harassed and beaten in school. Maybe you didn’t like that particular solution (in fact, *I* don’t like that particular solution), but all Duncan was trying to do was fix a problem.

    Right. And gay people are the only class of people that are being harassed or feel like they are being judged by their peers. Doubtful. Why not create a new school for every group that feels bullied. We could have one for the band students, one for the chess club, one for the drama team, one for the math club, etc.

    All that particular solution would have provided was creating another class of victims that is aligned with the Democratic party. Segregation is not the answer and I find the advocacy to prevent bullying that caters to one specific group a bit on the political side where this one was concerned. He didn’t propose a school catering to other groups that suffer social injustices from what I could find. Christians for instance that are often targeted and mocked for their beliefs by the left. Oh wait, that is a non-protected class of students.

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  70. Furhead says:

    My opinion is that there is significantly more actual violence against gay people than band students. There are actual books about violence against gays, with one Googled excerpt indicating that it happens more often in junior high and high school than in college. I haven’t found any books or even relevant Google results for violence against band students, sorry.

    Again, I still do agree that the solution is poor, for many of the reasons you cite. However, I’m pretty sure that most gays are already aligned with the Democratic Party. I will grant you that I now understand your point-of-view on why it could be considered (at least partially) a political move by Duncan.

    But as for the comments on Christians, I guess I’ll never figure out why 85% of the population thinks they’re being oppressed.

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  71. He needs to hire some teabagging whack-job to read over everything the White House is putting out to the public to find just which innocuous phrases, words or proposals will cause Beck World to lose their minds (again).

    Good idea. Ambassador to dumbf__kistan

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  72. I am not arguing that gay people are more or less harassed. Any group is open to harassment. There are idiots and bigots in all races, nationalities, sexual persuasions and ideological orientations. It seems to me however that out of all groups and ethnicities it is Christians and even gays that are targeted often by their very own government. Each group probably feels more slighted than the other. This is why many, not all, practicing Christians feel that they have a target on their backs regardless of how many exist in the nation.

    The difference of course is that you will never see anyone in the department of ed propose a public school for Christians even if it could be proven that they were being harassed in school. It would be no more appropriate than the government proposing a whites only school or anything else of the sort.

    However this problem could be easily solved if parents were allowed to use vouchers to send their children to a school of their choice. If there was a private school catering to gays that would be fine. Use the voucher to attend that school. The same for catholic schools and whatever other kind. The government’s role would be to ensure that the schools perform well from an educational point of view. Unfortunately there would be people opposing all of these solutions.

    I truly don’t or think there is a perfect answer.

    Regarding the President’s speech I was merely stating that it is the parent’s role to question their children’s schools when they are perceived to be using the educational system to do something that is a potential conflict of interest between the parent’s view and that of any given political party. It is very important that our schools are not used to further any one political agenda.

    I am not alone in believing that the lesson plans in the pre-speech prep pack were of that nature. Even the White House admitted that it was worded badly and the Dept. of Ed changed the plan. I believe that was appropriate and an acceptable solution. It was not a change that would have occurred had people like me not spoken up.

    Out of all rights afforded to the people of this nation it is the right to peacefully disagree with our government in an open forum. I consider this one of those cases and people that are upset by that are free to disagree with me.

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  73. Regarding the President’s speech I was merely stating that it is the parent’s role to question their children’s schools when they are perceived to be using the educational system to do something that is a potential conflict of interest between the parent’s view and that of any given political party. It is very important that our schools are not used to further any one political agenda.

    Then maybe you should have mentioned that when Ronald Reagan spoke to school children, or GHW Bush. Or when the aforementioned president’s council on physical fitness gets involved. Or when they change the food square to a food pyramid (commie food nazis!) Or when the Texas Education Commissioners attempt to rewrite history to promote conservative icons like Newt Gingrich. Or when school boards push creationist dogma. Or when people are up in arms about the lack of prayer in schools.

    Here’s your quote from earlier:

    All of this is fair game for people that are wary of an administration that has proven time and time again that their agenda comes first.

    Were you awake during the last eight years? The Bush administration was nothing but their agenda first! Hell, Obama can’t even overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because of concern trolling like this. So much for “their agenda comes first, eh?”

    Besides which, what is the use of winning the white house if you don’t get to pursue “your agenda first”? That’s like saying “we should watch out for the New England Patriots, because they always try to win games.”

    As to the parent/child question, parents have a right to guard what their children watch and see. But my kids will have to deal with the children of these idiots when they become adults. I would prefer my kids deal with *functional* adults, not people who believe everything they read on a damned nutjob TV/radio program like Glenn Beck or a blog like Michelle Malkin.

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  74. quincyscott says:

    He’s the president, folks. The guy has a middle class, single parent background. He got where he is with brains and study. Isn’t this a healthy role model for our kids? Haven’t we always said that in America, anyone can grow up to become president? Is it so dangerous to encourage students to work hard, have lofty goals? Come on.

    The rhetoric I am hearing from conservatives at the moment is no different from what in any other decade of our nation’s history would have been considered nutty fringe thinking. Honestly, what separates Glenn Beck’s rants from Timothy McVea or David Koresh, fomenting about the Evil Empire? How can my country have become so paranoid and cynical that a person like Beck is on national television each night? This guy is normal and wholesome, and Barack Obama is a deranged radical?

    Please–turn off Fox, put away your Left Behind book, and start using your brain again. Democracy only works when citizens behave rationally.

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  75. G.A.Phillips says:

    Actually, according to lore, it was Eve who was so coaxed. And the penalty was, what, getting tossed out of some boring ass garden and getting to live an unsupervised life of freedom?

    Na, I’m pretty sure it was death and separation form God. Adam was there, he should have protected her, but instead he listened to advice from the first liberal and doomed us all.

    But if you think that humoring and paying for these fools to indoctrinate your kids is better then working for God and getting his free health care plan, all I can say is your supporting the wrong option.

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  76. G.A. Phillips:

    Na, I’m pretty sure it was death and separation form God. Adam was there, he should have protected her, but instead he listened to advice from the first liberal and doomed us all.

    Um,

    1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

    2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

    4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

    He should have protected her. Right. Because men so often say no when women find something they want (not sexist, just observation)

    But if you think that humoring and paying for these fools to indoctrinate your kids is better then working for God and getting his free health care plan, all I can say is your supporting the wrong option.

    apparently you don’t know much about Dr. Joyner’s religious persuasion, or you wouldn’t make that comment.

    But if you think misreading an ancient religious text and using it as a base for your dealings with the modern world, be my guest.

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  77. As to the parent/child question, parents have a right to guard what their children watch and see. But my kids will have to deal with the children of these idiots when they become adults.

    Guess I really am arguing with a signpost. You seem so hurt and paranoid. Hope you get over yourself someday.

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  78. Guess I really am arguing with a signpost. You seem so hurt and paranoid. Hope you get over yourself someday.

    wait, you’re accusing me of being paranoid? Have you seen the town halls? Did you read this post?

    Paranoid doesn’t begin to describe what I see on the “right” side of the political spectrum these days. I didn’t subscribe to the view that Bush was a fascist, and I don’t subscribe to the view that Obama is either. If that makes me paranoid, then I’d suggest you get the dictionary out one more time and read a little closer.

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  79. G.A.Phillips says:

    He should have protected her. Right. Because men so often say no when women find something they want (not sexist, just observation)

    yes…

    apparently you don’t know much about Dr. Joyner’s religious persuasion, or you wouldn’t make that comment.

    lol… what are you talking about, what is a religious persuasion, who are you,

    But if you think misreading an ancient religious text and using it as a base for your dealings with the modern world, be my guest.

    lol….

    here I use an opportunity to point out that the devil was the first liberal and his advice was just as good as yours and the rest of your blind friends posting here today.

    Na, I’m pretty sure it was death and separation form God. Adam was there, he should have protected her, but instead he listened to advice from the first liberal and doomed us all.

    It had nothing to do with the good Dr’s question, nothing more then a set up.

    But if you think that humoring and paying for these fools to indoctrinate your kids is better then working for God and getting his free health care plan, all I can say is your supporting the wrong option.

    Another shot at you and your blind friends, your new god of the 4 years, and his and the other Donkeydoers, mindless dependency conscription plan.

    But hay, why don’t you challenge me on something interesting like this statement—–>

    What about separation of school and state?

    Posted by G.A.Phillips | September 3, 2009 | 04:39 pm | Permalink

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  80. here I use an opportunity to point out that the devil was the first liberal and his advice was just as good as yours and the rest of your blind friends posting here today.

    Hahahahahahahahahaha!

    The devil was the first liberal. Hmmm. Assuming the “devil” exists, considering the direction of the “conservative” GOP and libertarians, I’d suggest he has more in common with your side than mine. (freedom from outside restraints, to do what you want, ignore authority) At least that seems to be the suggestion from the discussion at hand. You do remember the discussion at hand, right? You do know that Obama “accepted Christ” according to his own testimony, right?

    It had nothing to do with the good Dr’s question, nothing more then than a set up.

    fixed.

    “separation of school and state”

    appears nowhere in the constitution, nor in the writings of the founding fathers. So if you want to make shite up, that’s your prerogative.

    I’d warn you that I have a graduate degree from a conservative theological seminary, so I’m not likely to fall for your simplistic bullsh*t talking points.

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  81. Dan Turner says:

    Comments I heard today, “Its scary, creepy, its all about the President. Who wants the President to be inspirational, transformational.”

    I short I do, and President Obama is.
    I have a mixed race 10 year old. We use many occasions to introduce him to civic life, to issues of how to face racial animosity (yes, even a 10 year old Blac/Native American, can and does face such things now and then.
    I can think of little better than to have my 10 year old see the President of the United States as having a skin color like his. I can think of little better transformation, than having 10 year olds grow up realizing that the President is inspirational, intelligent, studies hard, and is encouraging him to “not give excuses” but to give all he’s got to gain an education.

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  82. Franklin says:

    arguingwithsignposts- if you’re talking to G.A., then you’re living up to your name.

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  83. ggr says:

    If other presidents have done it in the past (Reagan and Bush were mentioned), isn’t this just business as normal? Why is this an issue at all? Lot’s of things to complain about with Obama (and all presidents actually), but this doesn’t seem to be one of them.

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  84. Franklin: as Conway Twitty used to say, that’s my job. ;)

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  85. G.A.Phillips says:

    The devil was the first liberal. Hmmm. Assuming the “devil” exists, considering the direction of the “conservative” GOP and libertarians, I’d suggest he has more in common with your side than mine. (freedom from outside restraints, to do what you want, ignore authority) At least that seems to be the suggestion from the discussion at hand. You do remember the discussion at hand, right? You do know that Obama “accepted Christ” according to his own testimony, right?

    lol, you really are clueless.

    And your a literature Nazi to boot?
    Fixed, dude fix your mind.

    appears nowhere in the constitution, nor in the writings of the founding fathers. So if you want to make shite up, that’s your prerogative.

    It’s in the Constitution, in the separation of clauses article, right next to Church and state, Santa form your kids, and babies from the womb!!! How can you come to a
    political blog to argue if you have never even read the U.S. Constitution????

    I’d warn you that I have a graduate degree from a conservative theological seminary, so I’m not likely to fall for your simplistic bullsh*t talking points.

    The only thing simplistic around here is how easily you and your friends are brainwashed by other liberals.

    I think maybe ill change my name to arguingwithsrules4and5butmostly12 and start my my own blog and call it schoolhouse rock for dummies.

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  86. Jersey says:

    This is just nuts! Enjoy the wilderness.

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  87. An Interested Party says:

    This is just nuts! Enjoy the wilderness.

    Exactly right…all this Sturm und Drang reeks of desperation…I mean, this event is something to get this hot and bothered over? Really?

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  88. davod says:

    “Obama is not only the “opposition,” he is the President of the United States. Show some respect.”

    The Congress passed a $787 billion 1000 page stimulus package sight unseen because POTUS said it was a national emergency. then he took four days to sign it into law. Respect?

    The Congress signed a little reviewed budget because our President said it was critical. Respect?

    The President said it was critical that a 1300 page unseen health care bill be on his desk by July 22. Did not get signed – Disrespect.

    Respect – Obama stops visas for Honduras,and ceases humanitarian aid, even after State agrees that Honduras acted within the law. Obama greatly increases visas for Cuba.

    Respect is important. After all Obama threw over Wright after twenty years because Wright disrespected him.

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  89. [...] My President’s Speech is R-rated An extended Ugh. [...]

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  90. [...] Obama plans to give a speech to schoolchildren next week.  Some critics are urging their readers to keep their children home from school; some [...]

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