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September 7, 2009

Defining Political Silliness

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

The President of the United States wants to talk to school children…oh, the horror! This guy wants to be granted access, though a web-based seminar, to our young impressionable minds. What terrifying subliminal messaging will be employed, what under-handed attempt to draw American schoolchildren into the evil web of progressive policy is afoot?


If this sounds a little sarcastic, then mission accomplished. My conservative friends are all “a dither” over Barack Obama’s desire to communicate through video link-up with schoolchildren. The conservative radio army is up in arms over this plan, convinced this is one more step in the leftist takeover of America, this time focused on filling young impressionable minds with mush.


You might conclude that this is the first time in recorded history that a sitting president has attempted to intrude into the sanctity of the schoolroom to deliver a message. Sadly, you’d be wrong. In fact, a quick review of past presidential communication techniques demonstrates that almost every president in the television age has used this medium to invade our schools. Policy actions and speeches about bill signings, space exploration, the importance of a basic education and being civil to others have all been covered by past chief executives in public school classrooms.


So, is it that Mr. Obama wants to talk to children in a captive setting to potentially indoctrinate them that has conservatives and Republicans apoplectic? Could it be that some people will just oppose everything this guy does because they live in their own reality that prevents them from accepting the results of the last election?


If you think this thesis suggests a natural inclination to support the policies of President Obama, you’d be way off base. He’s wrong on many fronts, and dangerously wrong on some. We don’t need, nor will we benefit from a publically controlled health insurance option. Unions and progressives demonstrate a dangerous lack of fundamental and factual information about our economy and healthcare delivery system in arguing for a bureaucratic takeover of health insurance underwriting.

His approach to the deficit is sadly misguided. The Obama Administration’s ability to estimate long term economic impact is worse than a job quote from a gypsy paving contractor.


He’s also wrong, way wrong, on the “Cap and Trade” legislation. Too broad, too damaging, and far too costly at a time when our economy is still fragile. Clearly, any defense offered of his right as president to speak directly to school children is not driven by support of his administration or his policies.


At its core, this objection is simply another example of the slow destruction of common sense in a nation whose policy arguments are defined exclusively by Republicans and Democrats. Since the lowest common-denominator method of political argument demands a boogeyman, Republicans seize less worthy opportunities like video chats with school children to talk about the monster under the bed.


There are much better policy arguments out there.


Afghanistan is bad and getting worse. The mission is harder to define, and the indigenous population less supportive of our continuing presence. Maybe the reason Republicans have to avoid that sticky situation is that old analogy “you broke it, you bought it”.


How about the issue of American public education failing to adequately prepare children for future learning, in spite of an historic investment in taxes? Oh, right, No Child Left Behind was passed and signed under the George W. Bush Administration.


Look, why not let President Obama have his day with the children? Instead of fussing about how much influence he’ll have over little Johnny and Martha, why not use the video conference as a teaching moment back home? Tell the children that the guy they heard from wants to finance a whole slew of political promises on their future and the future of their own children.


Tell them that like everything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, then the guy telling it to you is probably a liar. Yes, it’s okay to tell your children that some politicians of both parties are really no better than street vendors and carnival barkers, selling an idea without defining the costs and the consequences.


Shouting from the rooftops that the President of United States should be prevented from videoconferencing with America’s school children is just plain silly. Expanding the argument to suggest that children will be influenced to become foot soldiers in the progressive army isn’t much better.


Time would be better spent by opponents of the Obama Administration by developing policy positions and proposals to truly reform private market healthcare, to educate our children, to build a workforce for the future, to stabilize our economy, to protect our borders, to simplify the tax code, and to return our federal government to a mission focused on sustaining our Republic.


I guess that’s just not silly enough.


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