Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Presidency

And What He Did, Undid

It turns out that parents across the country may have no real cause to worry about Barack Obama's upcoming speech directed to America's schoolchildren.  I do not yet know whether my children will be asked to attend to this expected sidewinder.  Though I will be disappointed in the judgment of their school and of their teachers if they are promoting it, I probably will not interfere.  Why?  For one thing, I think kids are pretty smart.  And I remember that one of the things that drove me to dislike Jimmy Carter so much was all the fawning praise he got in the Weekly Reader and from my teachers when I was a kid.  Most Americans, even little ones, don't trust a President who thinks he's all that.  And, when the grown ups responsible for making your life drudgery tell you that you should think he's all that, there's double reason for finding him to be a humbug.  Besides, I think Obama fatigue has already hit a good number of Americans and, if that's so, it's so even among the elementary school set.  I present the following anecdote as evidence:

This morning, when my 8 year-old son came scurrying across my bedroom floor at the ungodly hour of 5:30 to announce "I'm uuuuppp!"-- the radio was already bleating out the day's news.  He happened to catch a television programming announcement about next Wednesday's "big Obama speech" (to be distinguished, of course, from last week's "big Obama speech" because, you know, this one will be before a joint session of Congress).  Apparently the televising of this snore-a-thon means that Wipe Out!, a show near and dear to the hearts and souls of all rambunctious little boys (and their fathers), will be canceled.  I can tell you that I have never expressed sentiments so harsh about Barack Obama (or any other human being) as the sentiments sputtered out by my son (between tears, of course) at that moment.  Whatever Obama says on Tuesday, he is doomed in the mind of my boy because of what he means to do on Wednesday.
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 7 Comments

I don't know what previous presidents did, or what back-up materials the Dept. of Ed. was pushing, but we have access to those, here, http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml, though I understand from Yahoo news that the more egregious materials have been deleted.

Kate is right about the deletions. And what Bush and Reagan did were not the same thing because they were not promoted with the same pomp and official stamp of government approval or "suggestion." The Reagan thing was not billed as an address to America's children and pushed in the schools--he had some high school kids asking him some questions about education at the White House. Bush's thing came closer . . . but the Dept. of Education was not, as far as I know, pushing autobiographical material about the president and asking kids to write essays about how they could be of service to their leader. Of course, this did not prevent Democrats at the time from howling about it as if they did. I guess it's o.k. for their guy to take it to the next level, however, and o.k. too, to paint those who smell something rotten in it to be painted as rabid maniacs. Very high minded and principled opposition coming from the left . . .

Having said that, I can't think that anyone objected when schools (like my kids') televised the Inaugural. And if they played a State of the Union address, I certainly would not object (though I doubt many in the K-8 set would follow it). But this is, as they say, a bridge too far.

What's this Scanlon, don't you want to distance yourself from the likes of Reagan and Bush I? Funny that you should cozy yourself up to them...

"And what Bush and Reagan did were not the same thing because they were not promoted with the same pomp and official stamp of government approval or "suggestion." The Reagan thing was not billed as an address to America's children and pushed in the schools--he had some high school kids asking him some questions about education at the White House. Bush's thing came closer . . . but the Dept. of Education was not, as far as I know, pushing autobiographical material about the president and asking kids to write essays about how they could be of service to their leader."

Julie, could you elaborate on any of that?

Also, Craig . . . Neither Bush nor Reagan canceled "Wipe Out" or anything comparable in order to do a special joint session of Congress so he could desperately try to stem the tide of his flagging popularity . . . and that is, of course, the critical difference in the mind of my kid.

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