Apologies for the source (damn, can you imagine me following local and state politics? ) ~ but I've read and respected Paul Burka for years. One of the reasons I like him so, is that he actually gets Fair and Balanced. With that disclaimer ~
I do think that the reaction to the speech is way over the top, but Jason Embry of the Statesman did some good reporting about the Democratic reaction to a similar speech by Bush 41 in 1991:
House Democrats criticized President Bush yesterday for using Education Department funds to produce and broadcast a speech that he made Tuesday at a Northwest Washington junior high school.
The Democratic critics accused Bush of turning government money for education to his own political use, namely, an ongoing effort to inoculate himself against their charges of inattention to domestic issues. The speech at Alice Deal Junior High School, broadcast live on radio and television, urged students to study hard, avoid drugs and turn in troublemakers.
“The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said. “And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.’ “
Two House committees demanded that the department explain the use of its funds for the speech, an explanation that Deputy Secretary David T. Kearns provided late in the day in a letter to Rep. William D. Ford (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was out of town.
The Democrats’ reaction seems [seemed] equally nutty. Is everybody crazy? Just me, I guess.
Loc: Pinellas Park, Florida
Personally? I really don't care. It's simply another non-issue to get all worked up about. I find nothing wrong with any President wanting to encourage students to excel academically. That has been pretty much a tradition as far as I can remember.
i expect politicians to be politicians so having politicians back then or now criticize a president from the other party for political gain is not surprising. what makes the current situation absolutely laughable is the number of parents who just seem petrified that their child would hear Obama and be brainwashed.
I find it perfectly reasonable to criticize Obama, as Bush and Reagan before him, him on the premise of "politics" . But this is not same as it ever was. The media-sponsored (FoxNews: Laura Ingraham, Beck, Hannity, Fox&Friends) attacks against Obama have come with comparisons to Hitler Youth and "indoctrination to Socialism/Communism/Fascism" and a call to pull children out of school and states ordering school districts to ban the President's address. GOP Congressman and officials are outright lying that Obama's address is to push healthcare, global warming, recruitment for his militant army ...
Lea, please show me where Gebhart's criticism of Bush Sr, or response to Reagan's tax speech to schoolchildren, ever came close to this vitriol.
On this faux controversy I not only see it from the perspective of a true liberal democrat but also as a parent. Beyond the hyperbole of Hitler comparisons it is the sickening use by Obama-haters to use their children to spread their personal vitriol ... and by their lies and loudmouth antics that now prevent other children --- in classrooms, schools, school districts and entire states --- from listening to Obama. The message they want for all kids is not to give any respect to their (Dem) President of the United States.
Case in point: The classic case of sucking-up-to ...or generally sukking... anything a power figure dangles in your face to gain a degree of protection or the upper hand in the furtherance of one's agenda.
Okay Lea, you have had me thinking for a while about this point.
I agree with you absolutely about how a party out of power criticizes the one in power in oddball ways. I was watching a Frontline documentary on the first Bush Presidency and I was pretty shocked and embarrassed to see the likes of Sen. Tom Daschle accuse then President Bush of not showing *enough* enthusiasm about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Talk about petty political BS.
However, I don't think that the tit for tat accounts for some of the crazy crap coming out of the Republican Party these days. I grant that some of it is just the regular political jockeying, and I'd even be charitable enough to blame it on the lack of a strong leader in the party who can set the tone. However, much of the things flying out of the mouths of the Republican Congressional Delegation have been appalling.
Take the extreme example: Rep. Cynthia McKinney. That's the most ridiculous and loudest Democrat I can think of in terms of criticizing President Bush. What did she get for accusing Bush of having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks? She got a primary challenge that knocked her out. When she came back, they refused to grant her seniority. The party rightfully didn't want someone so belligerent representing their platform.
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