I first heard about this
plan of Barack Obama's to address the nation's youth on September 8 while listening to Michael Medved as I was unpacking and making my way through the mountain of laundry resulting from our three-week camping trip (more about that later). My first reaction upon hearing it was to think that Medved must have gotten something wrong. The President of the United States would not call a national assembly of school children, would he? It's just not done. And to send out preparatory materials to principals and teachers featuring autobiographical materials about the "Dear Leader" would be too much even for the hubris of our audacious One. But Medved is usually pretty meticulous so my incredulity subsided and was replaced with horror as I continued to listen. Medved featured a teacher from "the Midwest" who could not give her name for fear of local retaliation. She noted that she planned to refrain from subjecting her students to this partisan spectacle.
Of course, "the speech" is being sold as an exhortation to America's youth to stay in school and to strive to achieve. Thus, no teacher or parent is really free to object without inviting the scorn of secret (and not-so-secret) Obama partisans who now have leave to say that such objections are nothing more than "overreaction." It's a clever sell. But I won't buy it. Hugh Hewitt
is also covering this and provides some useful links. John Hinderacker
at Powerline is on it too, and I think he hits upon what is likely to be the strongest reaction to the "big event" by the majority of America's schoolchildren: "inexpressibly lame." Bingo!
I do not worry (too much) that Obama will be able to win legions of followers in the Pre-K to 12 grade set because of this speech. If his past performances of late are any indication of what is more likely to happen, he will talk too long, talk too condescendingly, and bore them to tears. It is almost as laughable as the serenade offered in the movie Grease 2
(yes, I had a misspent youth) in which a young man drags his main squeeze down into a bomb shelter, misleads her into thinking that the nation is under attack, and suggests that they "do it" for their country. She didn't buy it either . . . and that was under the threat of nuclear annihilation.
But what is nicely and brazenly on display here is the President's unshakable and (now) almost pathetic belief in the power of his words to accomplish things. If ever a man bought into the narrative of his legion of sycophants regarding his persuasive abilities, it is Barack Obama. And there is something else too. Notice the navel-gazing personalization of the thing. If kids know HIS story and read about HIM and HE talks to them, well, then they will all be persuaded to do their best and, what is more, "help the president." Help him do what, exactly? Turn around the economy? Secure our borders? Fight domestic and international terrorism? Or does he simply want to remake America in his image? One begins to suspect that it's mostly the latter and, in the suspicion, one finds very little that is persuasive about that plan.
UPDATE: Remember this servile bit of Hollywood suck-up
that I mentioned back in January? It turns out that an elementary (!) school in Farmington, Utah is using it as part their
preparation for the big Obama speech. And more word today that Obama will give YET ANOTHER speech, this time in a joint session of Congress and about health care--because one State of the Union just isn't enough for the likes of Obama. No, he's not desperate at all.