Obama Among The Schoolchildren. And Bush.

From Obama's prepared remarks today, to be delivered from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia:

It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other. So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?  

Whole talk here. Should Obama invoke images of armed insurrection in a school setting? Isn't that supposed to be reserved for town hall meetings and right-wing jerkoffs? In any case, Obama's JKFesque invocation of national service bugs the hell out of me. I strongly suspect that none of the great movers and shakers at, say Facebook or the Twitter, or Apple or Microsoft, or whatever, ever seriously thought about what the president of the future was going to say about them. 

Via Drudge comes this Byron York piece in the Washington Examiner about the response to President George H.W. Bush talking to schoolkids in 1991. After noting the House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), among others, denounced the speech, York reports:

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event."

The GAO, alas, found that the expenditures were at least technically legal (however stupid and wasteful), thus paving the way for today's talk by Obama. The teachers union The National Edcuation Association also editorialized against the speech:

That didn't stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it "cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers' money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C.—while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters."

How times change! Just today, the head of the other big teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, praised Obama's speech this morning on Morning Joe. Go figure. Whole York piece here.

I realize that I've got, er, an ideology and all, but is it just me and my fellow libertarians that find this sort of vacuous public circus a totally, er, vacuous and circus-y like spectacle? Whether it's the Dems or the Reps, I don't need or want politicians to be my kids' role models (goodnight wherever you are, Teddy Kennedy) any more than I want professional athletes to be. Thankfully, very few children grow up to be politicians or particularly influenced by them. Which is a good thing.

Reason's Jesse Walker on the speech we'll all forget around noon today.

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  • edna||

    vacuous and circus-y? yes. but isn't it better than when they spend time and effort doing something substantive? the harm here is minimal, the harm in *real* work is incalculable.

  • Xeones||

    Obama's speech is a fart in a windstorm. Platituding at a bunch of schoolkids is a much less harmful way for him to spend his time than pushing his various legislative goals. In fact, Barry, why don't you take the rest of September off after this?

  • Spartacus||

    Thankfully, very few children grow up to be politicians or particularly influenced by them. Which is a good thing.

    Unfortunately, the ones that do inflict damage far beyond what their small numbers would indicate. All the more reason for keeping politicians (and wannabe politicians) in quarantine. Maybe we should start a registry or something.

  • Joe M||

    Our National Dad is the coolest.

  • oh no not this again ||

    If the best you can is say the democrats did it too, it's going to be a long 4 or 8 years. Word to the seemingly wise, how about ignoring fake shit like this, and refrain from giving it anymore credibility than the little it deserves.

  • ||

    I hate presidents.

  • !||

    I am just amazed that he is not giving that talk from the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va.

    Had no idea Arlington had a public madrassa!

  • ||

    After reading the contents of the speech, it's not controversial, it's not progressive, it's...

    ...come on, Mike, there's gotta be a word for it here somewhere...

    ...insipid. That's it, insipid. Or patronizing, that's another good one for it.

    Apparently we (well, not we, but a majority around us) elected a Motivational-Speaker-in-Chief.

  • Rich||

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says, "If one kid in one school hears one message and goes from being a D student to a C student, then the speech is worth it."

    This clearly illustrates the administration's stewardship of the taxpayer's money.

  • ||

    "I strongly suspect that none of the great movers and shakers at, say Facebook or the Twitter, or Apple or Microsoft, or whatever, ever seriously thought about what the president of the future was going to say about them."

    I strongly suspect you missed the point. Completely. Why would you object to Obama pointing out successful businessmen as people to emulate?

  • ||

  • ||

    This is curmudgeonly nonsense, Nick. Your first complaint is that Obama uses the word "revolution" - in the same metaphorical sense that it's had for more years than any of us have been alive? I don't recall anyone being up in arms over the Beatles song.

    Then you complain that the Democrats investigated a previous incidence, discovered that it was legal, and let the matter drop. Not much of a gotcha.

    And finally, a lament that Democrats previously complained that Bush gave a similar talk... but don't seem to emphasize the fact that the objection stemmed from objections to his educational policies, which were cutting school funds. It was political point-scoring, of course, and you may have liked Bush's decision, but it's absurd to suggest that this is somehow similar.

    I think Obama's address is a waste of time, but it's certainly one of the least offensive things politically that a politician can do.

  • Joe M||

    ...don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

    Dude, Microsoft got free advertising. Or is product placement how the federal government is balancing the budget?

  • Joe M||

    Why do I only neglect to preview when I make a typing mistake?

  • Xeones||

    I don't think so, SugarFree. Where's his monocle?

  • ransom147||

    What's an "obama being" you bloody racist!

  • ||

    Where's his monocle?

    The typical libertarian has perfect eyesight. How dare you suggest that he needs government-run healthcare!

  • ||

    "Stop being an Obama 'being' and start being an Obama 'doing.'"

    "I'm an Obama 'going!'"

  • ransom147||

    Is he drinking a mt dew in the video?

  • Xeones||

    The monocle is for style, not a vision aid. I wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbucks restroom without mine.

  • ||

    The typical libertarian has perfect eyesight.

    Great, no wonder I don't fit in And here I thought the rest of you were a bunch of coke-bottle glasses wearing NERDS.

  • KipEsquire||

    "Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other."

    Brin was educated in Moscow and Page in a Montessori school.

    Just saying...

  • ||

    I think this "issue," and the attention it's getting, may successfully put me into a boredom-induced coma.

  • ||

    He doesn't say anything about charter schools being something the younger kids should try to get into so they can achieve some of those lofty goals? Shocking.

  • ||

    I realize that I've got, er, an ideology and all, but is it just me and my fellow libertarians that find this sort of vacuous public circus a totally, er, vacuous and circus-y like spectacle?

    I hope not, but it's not like it's anymore vacuous or circus-y than most of the other crap 24-hour news channels mistake for actual important political news.

  • ||

    I never wear my monocle in public. Some ruffian might steal it and sharp rap with my cane might not subdue him like last time.

  • Xeones||

    Some ruffian might steal it and sharp rap with my cane might not subdue him like last time.

    That's when you shoot him with your legal, openly-carried firearm.

  • ||

    Sadly, my rights to shoot the poor for every infraction have been eroded away.

  • The raspy voice Rangel||

    If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave.

    Thanks, Boss, I needed that.

  • ||

    We didn't elect Obama or Bush the First as national school principal. I'd like my presidents to think more and campaign less.

    I know, I know -

    Ain't.
    Gonna.
    Happen.

  • Homer||

    Our National Dad is the coolest.

    I'd like to take the starch out of his collar.

    Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!

  • !||

    That's when you shoot him with your legal, openly-carried firearm.

    I never roll down Rodeo without mine.

  • ||

    In the prepared remarks, Obama tells young people that all the work of parents, educators and others won't matter "unless you show up for those schools, pay attention to those teachers."

    Some days I feel like all the grown-ups forgot what it was like to be kids. He's basically going to tell these kids that if they don't read every last boring page of Jane Eyre, they'll have the blood of the victims of the next 9/11 on their hands.

  • Craig L.||

    The monocle is for style, not a vision aid. I wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbucks restroom without mine.

    I wouldn't be caught in a Starbucks restroom without a penis in my hand. What? That is what the place is for right? To take a wiz, right? Stop struggling. I'll let go when I'm damn good and ready.

  • ||

    Psssst....I'm over here.

  • ||

    The typical libertarian has perfect eyesight.

    Perfect eyesight that was bought and paid for out of my own pocket, thank you very much.

  • ||

    If President Obama's message is "indoctrination" then so is "one nation under god" in the pledge.

  • Jim Treacher||

    The Dems also accused Bush 41 of using kids a "props." Some things never change.

  • T||

    Perfect eyesight that was bought and paid for out of my own pocket, thank you very much.

    I paid for about 2/3 and left my former employer holding the bag on the rest of the FSA funds when I quit in June. I love that loophole.

  • Jim Treacher||

    If President Obama's message is "indoctrination" then so is "one nation under god" in the pledge.



    We know you've pledged allegiance to Obama, Lamar. When our kids are asked to, don't expect us to be quiet about it.

  • Jim Treacher||

    I don't recall anyone being up in arms over the Beatles song.



    "And if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow... er, unless you're Van Jones."

    Then you complain that the Democrats investigated a previous incidence, discovered that it was legal, and let the matter drop. Not much of a gotcha.



    Why did it need to be investigated at all?

  • ||

    Libertarians don't use children as props, they're much more useful as labor!

  • ||

    "We know you've pledged allegiance to Obama, Lamar. When our kids are asked to, don't expect us to be quiet about it."

    Jim Treacher: nobody expects you to be quiet about anything. I mean, seriously, a grown man who calls the First Lady a "monsieur" rather than a "mademoiselle" will most likely chime in on just about any asinine thing. The First Lady is physically fit? That makes her unfit!!

  • ||

    Yes, Obama's talk is wrong, stupid, and wasteful -- on a rational basis. But his goal is to establish COLLECTIVISM in the minds of everyone -- child, parent, teacher. What can you do for your country, how can you serve, focus on your moral duty to society.

    He characterizes the great achievements of independent entrepreneurs as motivated by service to the community. Recognizing their greatness, while denying their selfish, independent motivations.

  • ||

    Rev. Book: When I talk about belief, why do you always assume that I'm talking about god?

    When a politician talks about contributing to society, why do you always assume he's talking about government-centered collectivism?

    Surely you believe that capitalism serves society better than any other system. But in order for the system to work, people have to offer things of value. Those are their contributions to the system.

  • Warty||

    If President Obama's message is "indoctrination" then so is "one nation under god" in the pledge.

    It sure is.

    "God? He is ze biggest bitch of zem all."

  • ||

    But his goal is to establish COLLECTIVISM in the minds of everyone -- child, parent, teacher. What can you do for your country, how can you serve, focus on your moral duty to society.

    This isn't you, isn't it?

  • ||

    Our President Dad can bow lower than your president dad!

  • Jim Treacher||

    Jim Treacher: nobody expects you to be quiet about anything. I mean, seriously, a grown man who calls the First Lady a "monsieur" rather than a "mademoiselle" will most likely chime in on just about any asinine thing.



    Thanks for reading! But why do you want to change the subject?

  • IceTrey||

    I love how he mentions twice that he was raised by a poor single mother. BULLSHIIIIIIIT!!! His step father Soetoro worked for MOBIL OIL and when he moved back to Hawaii he lived with his grandparents who had very respectable jobs. What a slimy liar this guy is.

  • JB||

    People are tired of listening to the communist liar Obama and really don't want him anywhere near their children.

  • Walt||

    People around here would be happy if Obama asks the teachers to stay in school.

  • @||

    They're cheering him like he's The Beatles.
    The girls in the audience are getting sticky as we speak.

  • ||

    "Thanks for reading! But why do you want to change the subject?"

    LOL! I pointed out that conservatives aren't against "indoctrination", they are just against "indoctrination" from somebody of the other party, even if the "indoctrination" is merely to stay in school and study hard. Then you "changed the subject" from my point about the hypocrisy of the parties to my personal "pledging allegiance to Obama" (which is incorrect and irrelevant). Since you went in that direction, I took that as a concession that you had no valid response to my point. And I still haven't seen it.

  • Rich||

    poor single mother

    I'm trying to understand Obamaese. I think he is using

    Poor, adj. Wretchedly lacking; meager. Not up to expectations.

  • !||

    poor single mother

    Rich, I think he was using that term instead of "professional liberal arts student cranking out babies."

  • ||

    mr. o sez You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free.


    eh? wait a minute. i thought that's what we have government for! i thought lofty ideals and the force of government were all that we need to effect change?!!

    oh yeah, and hope too...

  • Jim Treacher||

    LOL! I pointed out that conservatives aren't against "indoctrination", they are just against "indoctrination" from somebody of the other party, even if the "indoctrination" is merely to stay in school and study hard.



    And to write down ways they can help Obama.

    Then you "changed the subject" from my point about the hypocrisy of the parties to my personal "pledging allegiance to Obama" (which is incorrect and irrelevant).



    Incorrect or irrelevant? Which is it?

    Since you went in that direction, I took that as a concession that you had no valid response to my point. And I still haven't seen it.



    Write a letter to yourself about what you can do to help the president.

  • ||

    "And to write down ways they can help Obama."

    Still not a response to why pledging allegiance to god is any less of an indoctrination than "stay in school" from the President.

    "Incorrect or irrelevant? Which is it?"

    Both. I have no particular love for Obama, and even if I did, it doesn't change the lame hypocrisy you are advocating.

    "Write a letter to yourself about what you can do to help the president."

    Still not a response to why pledging allegiance to god is any less of an indoctrination than "stay in school" from the President.

    Here's my advice, Jim: stick to yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Still not a response to why pledging allegiance to god is any less of an indoctrination than "stay in school" from the President.



    If you think Obama is God, I'm not sure there's much to be done about it.

    I have no particular love for Obama



    Mm-hm.

    Here's my advice, Jim: stick to yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.



    We understand, dear.

  • Paul||

    Should Obama invoke images of armed insurrection in a school setting?

    I wonder if Obama would find it ironic that an armed insurrection could never start in a place like Chicago?

  • alan||

    If President Obama's message is "indoctrination" then so is "one nation under god" in the pledge.

    Shit meet Sherlock. You really thought that needed to be said on a Libertarian site? Why don't you go over to Mises.org and tell them about fractional reserve banking while you are at it.

  • ||

    "Why don't you go over to Mises.org and tell them about fractional reserve banking while you are at it."


    haha

  • alan||

    BTW, the entire pledge is an objectionable loyalty oath, with all but the God phrase, created by the Socialist Francis Bellamy for the expressed purpose of indoctrination. I normally would not feel the need to express that but you don't seem to be getting why Treacher is taking an amused tone towards your remark.

  • alan||

    thanx Ransom. It has been one of those days. A horde of Obamaphile Huns invading at the city gates.

  • ||

    there's one under every rock alan. even when the rock is just their head.

  • ||

    If President Obama's message is "indoctrination" then so is "one nation under god" in the pledge.

    Shit meet Sherlock. You really thought that needed to be said on a Libertarian site?


    Yes? I mean, after all, I did go through the effort of typing it and all that. And, really, are you going to sit there and pretend that there isn't a large overlap in web surfing habits between libertarians and social conservatives? Have you been here more than a couple of months?

    And why, instead of recognizing that fact are you and others attacking me for pointing out that hypocrisy? Do you think Mises.org would never ever point out hypocrisy? Really, if it has been one of those days, then you should probably count to 10 before you hit "Submit Comment".

  • ||

    "BTW, the entire pledge is an objectionable loyalty oath,"

    [mocking alan's voice]: You really thought that needed to be said on a Libertarian site?

  • alan||

    ransom147 | September 8, 2009, 2:12pm | #
    there's one under every rock alan. even when the rock is just their head.


    At least I got under that moron's skin. I feel even better about hitting 'Submit Comment' after that reply.

    Have you been here more than a couple of months?

    I have been here for a few years, and in that time, I have never seen a Conservative as obtuse as the all to typical liberal who comes around here. The Conservatives know that we are Godless heathens, and it doesn't need to be explained to them.

  • alan||

    That is the double 'o' 'too' form that is needed there isn't it? Lamar, be a sport about my bashing and insert that 'o' for me. No evoking of Joez Law necessary.

  • alan||

    Lamar | September 8, 2009, 2:15pm | #
    "BTW, the entire pledge is an objectionable loyalty oath,"

    [mocking alan's voice]: You really thought that needed to be said on a Libertarian site?


    Lamar, you idiot, I thought you would bring that up so I covered it -- read down further where I state, I normally would not feel the need to express that but you don't seem to be getting why Treacher is taking an amused tone towards your remark. You idiot, that was the purpose of the second phrase so you could not slip in an 'ah ha!' moment. My ass is covered and golden on that one.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Huh.

    Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin both attended private Montessori elementaries, although they did later attend public high schools. Sergey's father supplemented his elementary education with home lessons in mathematics.

    facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, went to Phillips Exeter Academy after a brief stint in public high school. One of the other facebook founders, Chris Hughes, also attended Phillips.

    Couldn't find any info on any of the other founders' early education.

  • ||

    "Lamar, you idiot,"

    I would say that I've had a good time debating you, but I'm not sure you've made any debatable points. If you are a godless heathen, then you could have said, "I'm against both The Pledge and Obama's pep talk". In that case, the comment really wasn't directed towards you, though you've been most courteous in responding anyway. One more thing: at 2:13pm I showed you why your snark is worthless and downright stupid.

  • ||

    "Lamar, you idiot, I thought you would bring that up so I covered it"

    Yu comunikate reel guud. So klleer in yur wurdz.

  • Jim Treacher||

    What sort of blood-pressure medication are you on, Lamar?

  • ||

    "What sort of blood-pressure medication are you on, Lamar?"

    Thanks for the courtesy of caring, Jim. We know you've pledged allegiance to Obama!

  • ||

    Jim Treacher, is it accurate to say your point of view is that both the Pledge and Obama's speech have no place in school? If so, why not just say so?

  • alan||

    Lamar, sweet cheeks, I'm not debating you as your rhetorical skills are so lacking you miss even the most basic set up, no, I am making fun of your dumb ass. But you do get that, hence the weak attempt at condescension.

  • ||

    "Lamar, sweet cheeks, I'm not debating you as your rhetorical skills are so lacking you miss even the most basic set up."

    Alan, I appreciate your candor in admitting that you are an asshole. But I have to wonder, why bother? And I mean "why bother setting me up for a lame gotcha"?

  • alan||

    Alan, I appreciate your candor in admitting that you are an asshole. But I have to wonder, why bother? And I mean "why bother setting me up for a lame gotcha"?

    Lamar,

    you are reading it entirely in the wrong spirit. Much like Obama's speech to the chil'ens, mine was a teachable moment. Why? Because I care.

  • ||

    Lesson learned.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Thanks for the courtesy of caring, Jim.



    You're welcome.

    Jim Treacher, is it accurate to say your point of view is that both the Pledge and Obama's speech have no place in school?



    No, I have no particular problem with either one. I didn't like the lesson plan they cooked up for the kids after his speech, though.

    Lesson learned.



    Don't make promises you can't keep.

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