From the Atlantic:
What began as idle musing by Michelle Malkin and a few other conservative bloggers has since hit Politico, the Associated Press, and the New York Times. Obama’s Sept. 8 speech to public school children, which will be broadcast online and on C-SPAN so classrooms can tune in, started out as about “the need to work hard and stay in school,” reported the AP. But now? Turns out that it’s a secret White House plot to “indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas,” as the Times described the fears of Obama’s critics. As several school districts vow to avoid the speech, a few questions. How did this happen?
* Malkin’s Kick-Off Malkin got the ball rolling on Wednesday by accusing Obama of “using students as junior lobbyists” and “disgraceful abuses of power.” How? “Zealous teacher’s unions have enlisted captive schoolchildren as letter-writers in their campaigns for higher education spending,” she said. “Out-of-control activists have enlisted their secondary-school charges inpro-illegal immigration protests, gay marriage ceremonies, environmental propaganda stunts, and anti-war events.” She pushed for parents to get involved, writing, “Parents have every right to worry about their children being used as Political Guinea Pigs for Change.” And, boy, did they ever.
* Conservatives Chorus Builds David Boaz wrote on Cato’s blog, “The Obama administration is trying to push its president-worship onto 50 million captive schoolchildren.” Christian conservative leader Gary Bauer released a statement declaring, “The Obama Administration is using its power in unprecedented ways, this time injecting itself into the nation’s classrooms. Tuesday may be a good day to sit in on your child’s classes.” Prominent Florida Republican Jim Greer accused Obama of “using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda.” RedState was all over it as well.
TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) ―President Barack Obama is set to address students across the nation on September 8 with a message about staying in school, working hard, and achieving educational goals. But according to a press release from the Republican Party of Florida, it’s actually a plot to indoctrinate students to his socialist agenda.
The rhetoric was similar to that used by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann who has said Americorps were actually re-education camps.
While the “socialist agenda,” is a laughable idea to most citizens, it has taken hold in some extreme elements of the Republican Party.
“I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer said. “I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda.”
Greer also said in his statement that Obama’s intent in speaking to the children was to justify his plans for “government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs.”
From Scott Maxwell at the Orlando Sentinel:
There once was a political operative who loved to tell crowds he had a simple way of explaining to children the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
“Republicans get up and go to work,” he would tell his son. “Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks.”
This man not only talked to his son about Republican values, he went into public-school classrooms and talked about them as well.
That man is Jim Greer — the same Jim Greer who, as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, just threw a nationwide hissy fit, claiming that the classroom is no place for politics and Barack Obama’s “indoctrination.”
One Seminole County mother, Barbara Wells, remembers the day Greer spoke to her son’s sixth-grade class. “My son said he made some sort of Hillary Clinton joke,” she recalled.
There’s no longer any question: Greer is a hypocrite.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether mainstream Republicans in Florida will allow him to drag them deeper into the divisive and irrational fringes of their party.
Presidents have been talking to schoolchildren ever since we’ve had schools.
And not just presidents. Politicians of all stripes — from Govs. Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles to Mayors Buddy Dyer and Rich Crotty.
One of the last times Obama spoke to schoolchildren, he said the following: “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands. You cannot forget that.”
Heavens to Betsy! The indoctrinator in chief must be stopped!
Late Friday, I caught up with Greer, who said he has no regrets about accusing the president of spreading “liberal lies” before Greer even knew what Obama was going to say.
In fact, Greer actually believes that, had he not called Obama out, the indoctrination would have taken place.
And he didn’t see any fair comparison between his own school visits and the president’s. The main difference, Greer said, is that he didn’t have the Department of Education organizing lesson plans meant to idolize him the way he’s convinced they would have for Obama, had Greer not stopped him.
But Jim, Thursday night on Hardball you said: “Before anybody talks to my children from a political perspective, I want to know what they have to say.” And yet you didn’t run your opinions by any of the parents before you started molding young minds, did you?
“That was different,” he said. “I wasn’t using lesson plans.”
I’m honestly not sure whether Greer really believes what he’s shoveling. But I know I’m not alone in thinking his divisive rhetoric is beyond the pale. Conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough labeled Greer’s comments “insane talk.”
But Scarborough didn’t stop there. He wondered why Florida’s leading Republicans weren’t taking on Greer, “standing up and saying: ‘Guys, calm down. This is no way to conduct a debate.'”
So I ran Greer’s extremist statement by four high-profile Republicans: Gov. Charlie Crist, U.S. Rep. John Mica, State House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon and Orange County GOP leader Lew Oliver.
I just wanted to see whether a single one had the guts to call Greer out and take a stand for mainstream values and rational debate.
Not a one of them did.
And that is even scarier.