The latest right-wing craziness to erupt onto the political scene is truly revealing: hysteria over a planned presidential speech to school children encouraging them to stay in school, work hard, and accept responsibility. The speech, slated for next week, sounds about as anodyne–and if anything, conservative–as any speech Barack Obama has ever given. Participation by schools is voluntary. The President is doing what presidents do when addressing kids: setting an example and encouraging them to be good students and good citizens.
But that’s not how it’s being interepreted in the fever swamps, of course. Led by Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck, conservatives are shrieking about some White House conspiracy to indoctrinate children and enlist them in Obama’s godless hordes of brainwashed totalitarians.
It didn’t take long at all, of course, for this looniness to get picked up by “respectable” Republicans. Here’s what the chairman of the Florida Republican Party had to say in a press release yesterday:
As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power.
Worse yet, conservative gabbers are actually encouraging parents to keep their kids out of school on September 8. Of course, we are talking about people who often denounce public education entirely as a socialist plot, but it’s still a new low, and a rather ironic way to deal with manufactured allegations that the president is trying to politicize children.