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September 4th, 2009
06:33 AM ET

Avlon: 'Wingnuts' try to politicize president's talk to kids

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

Rep. Pete Stark (L) and Jim Greer (R).

Rep. Pete Stark (L) and Jim Greer (R).

As a heated wingnut summer heads to a close, we look at a new GOP “socialist” attack on President Obama for speaking to school children, a ‘brain dead’ attack on Democratic centrists and, in a bonus round, a callous conspiracy theory just in time for the 8th anniversary of 9/11.

President Obama is slated to give a speech to America’s school children next Tuesday on the subject of taking personal responsibility for their success in school.

Last time I checked, personal responsibility and socialism were opposite concepts, but that didn’t stop Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer from firing off an unhinged press release. Here’s an excerpt:

“As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology … I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda. The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President's agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates…Now that school is back in session, President Obama has turned to American's children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American's youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves."

Greer accused the president of using the speech to promote his political agenda – though the speech was never slated to cover policy. The Department of Education did change language in a lesson plan that suggested students write a letter about how they would help the president after hearing him speak. PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter did a rundown on the ‘controversy’ and published its results with a “Pants on Fire” ruling.

This knee-jerk name-calling and hyper-partisan hysteria is the latest sign that things have become completely unhinged inside the hotbox of the GOP. Accusing the president of having a “socialist ideology” and spreading “liberal lies” and “propaganda” don’t even raise common sense – or common decency – concerns.

Wingnuts live in a world without perspective, and those on the right are trying to turn the President of the United States into a fearful figure in order to score partisan points with their base. Only the far, far left fringe would have accused President Bush of having a ‘fascist ideology” – and they would have rightly been laughed off the stage. These statements are coming from GOP party officials – politicizing a talk to school kids by the President of the United States. Stay classy, GOP.

But liberals have showed plenty of their own wingnuttery in recent weeks, wrestling among themselves over the anger at town hall protests and asking whether compromise is courageous or cowardice. Liberal Democrat Rep. Pete Stark, who heads the health subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, took aim at the centrist Blue Dog Democrats on a conference call with reporters, saying they “just want to cause trouble” and that they are "brain dead.” Here’s the full quote:

"They're for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead, but they're just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process."

Lyndon Johnson once famously said that the difference between liberals and cannibals is that cannibals don’t eat their friends and family members. The idea that the Blue Dog Democrats – who have been trying to rein-in spending and fighting to preserve the possibility of a bipartisan bill – are promoting a "right-wing agenda" is evidence of a creeping intolerance on the part of liberal congressional leaders. They are starting to look like mirror images of the play-to-the-base partisanship they rightly decried during the Tom DeLay era.

Finally, in an off-the-grid bonus round that hits a new low, former CIA analyst and conspiracy theorist Michael Scheuer lobbed another offensive claim just in time for the 8th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th – asserting that the Obama administration wants America to be attacked by terrorists:

"Oh sure we're going to be attacked … and, you know, Rahm Emanuel wants an attack. He loves crisis, and crisis, the Democrats, he says, can get all of their programs through. These people simply do not care."

A few months ago, Scheuer hit on a variation of the same ugly theme, this time almost cheerleading for an attack: "The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States ... Because it's going to take a grassroots, bottom up pressure, because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It's an absurd situation, again. Only Osama can execute an attack that will force Americans to demand a government protect them effectively, consistently and with as much violence as necessary."

It’s hard to imagine an uglier or more offensive accusation, especially on the approaching anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in history. It’s shameless and a shameful new low in the wingnut ring of dishonor.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (449 Responses)
  1. Rob

    It's not the speech....I don't mind a pep talk from the chief executive. What disturbes me is the accompanying "menu of classroom activites" provided by the Department of Education. READ IT... Also, why were the locally elected school boards bypassed on this?

    BTW, race has NOTHING to do with this. Why is this always brought up? It is getting tiresome.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  2. Susan Simon, Stillwater, Oklahoma

    If President Obama's speech to school children has become politicized, it is the neo-cons who have done it. Sitting presidents have spoken to school children, as well as addressed college graduates, with nary an eyebrow raised, until it was President Obama, beginning with Notre Dame University. Who is rearing these poor kids? Prejudice and paranoia are alive and well.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  3. Disgusted

    Most of the people that complain about our President speaking to school children are right wing nut jobs that resent the fact that Obama was ever elected. What is wrong with children being spoken to about hard work and education? Since when are those socialistic ideas? These people are using their children as pawns in their right wing political game. If George W. Bush or Rush Limbaugh were speaking at their school, they would send their children to school in their best Sunday attire.

    Anything that Mr. Obama does is criticized by these people. They have decided that if they couldn't defeat Obama in the election, they will defeat his presidency. If democrats and liberals behaved this way toward George Bush, they would have been called "Un-American".

    September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  4. Bill

    "When Obama comes to school, my kids will be absent that day!"

    What are you afraid of?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  5. heather - Atlanta

    Wow, did anyone actually READ the lesson plan sent out by the education department? How horrible it is that we ask our teachers to advise our children to do some background research on former presidents and our current one! How horrible is it that if you ACTUALLY READ the lesson plans you too might LEARN something! How horrible is it that the position of President of the United States is speaking to the children of this country and motivating them to THINK about themselves and how they can achieve more and make an educational plan for themselves!! Get real, parents should READ more instead of taking in the ignorant ramblings of others. MAKE YOUR OWN OPINION and stop listening to the media!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  6. Danielle

    Speaking as a teacher, the one thing many people seem to be overlooking in this debate, is that aside from showing the speech – most teachers would never countenance using, let alone even visiting the website for, accompanying lesson plans with the speech. Most of us are so busy scrambling to cover content in such a short span of time, that a 15 minute speech is about all we have time for! I find it amusing that my district initially requested we show the speech, and then quikcly backpedaled in the face of its politicization. The only reason I would personally bulk at showing the speech is that it is reported to emphasize the importance of math and science in education. Sorry, but as a social studies teacher – I am hesitant to waste more of my valuable class time perpetuating that old line.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  7. Phil

    S. Watt.
    You are the racist. I wouldn't care if I Obama was dyed in the wool
    homosexual transvestite. I could care less about his skin color. I do care that we have spent $1 Trillion extra that we don't have. (in case you can't do math, that is $3300 for every man, woman, and child in this country – my family missed that $13K+ check from the government), or that we have traded Iraq for an even more dubious adventure in Afghanistan, or that the Democrats want a health care "reform" that doesn't even attempt to address the cost of malpractice litigation or that he appointed a "Czar of Green Jobs" in place who is on record for blaming Americans for 9/11 and that somehow we deserved it. I was hopeful that his intelligence would allow him to make better decisions. It clearly hasn't..

    But I'm sure, you like all others who think this is about race, just blame George Bush, even though Congress has been Democratically controlled for now almost 3 years. Why shouldn't you blame Bush, it is so easy to blame everybody else but take no responsibility for your own actions. I seem to remember that Obama was a Junior Senator. He voted to spend money, just like the rest of them. The media (who are the real Wingnuts) are so interested in outing the weirdos that the chance of real discussion is essentially zeros. Of course they and you believe that a tautology exists: "disagree with President Obama" == "Racist" == "Wingnut". No such tautology exists.

    No, I don't want a public option. Yes, I want gays to have the right to marry,. No, I don't want my kids to be forced to listen to our President in School. Yes I want legal reforms in health care. No, I don't want our troops in Afghanistan. Yes, I want more development on non fossil fuels. No I don't want Cap and Trade as a way to increase taxes to fund this - cut somewhere else. No I don't want $1+Trillion deficits. Yes, I believe I know how to spend the money I earn better than the government.

    Just call me a "Wingnut" because most of these views disagree with Obama.

    What the Hell happened to Freedom: Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression in this Country.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  8. GH

    Here we go... disagree w/ something Obama is doing and we're RACISTS!

    After viewing Obama slick production – was he using a teleprompter w/ the kids??? – the children are to answer questions like.... "what can I do to help the President?"... and... "make a poster w/ famous Obama quotes".

    How 'bout answering something like.... "what can I do to help the COUNTRY?" And make a poster?? This whole thing is flat out CREEPY!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  9. Dale Sherman

    This is just ... insane. There's no other way to say it – the people who would refuse to let their kids listen to a speech by the President of our country because some goofball on the radio told them just shows how lazy and ignorant people are in this country. And if this had been Bush doing the same thing, would those same people have objected? No, that would have been un-American. What insane hypocrites.

    And the questionnaire? Who doesn't remember those same type of talking-points giving to them in school when they were kids after hearing an important speech or watching an educational film? It's a chance for the kids to discuss and learn – both pros and cons – just as it's always been. Anyone questioning this either never went to school or is so closed-minded that they really need to slow down and think their own thoughts out instead of grabbing talking points from other crazy anti-Obama nuts.

    To turn this into another political bruhaha is just idiotic. There really needs to be some backbone shown by the sane Republicans over this to say that some people are taking things too far. If not, pretty soon we'll have people saying that Obama is like an "abortionist doctor and should be killed for the greater good."

    It really is getting that crazy.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  10. bewildered

    To worriedmom and all the others here that are "quoting" what is in the materials sent to the schools. READ THEM YOURSELF! Don't blindly repeat what the others have said. Actually take the responsibility and effort to read them. There is not any propaganda, or policy. It is introspection (which I think some here are afraid of). Setting goals even for small children is fine. The goal can be a simple as, work harder at math. This faux outrage everywhere these days, is based on fear. Fear spread by people that want power, being spread to the masses that have been raised to not question, just do. How, is that not indoctrination?

    Really, really sad that so many intelligent people can be manipulated so easily.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |

    I think it would be impossible for anyone to feel more disappointment, and anxiety over a president, then I felt for George W Bush. However it at no time crossed my mind that public school children should be shielded from the insanity that Pres Bush's administration spewed on a daily basis. I believed Pres bush was capable of acting appropriatly around children.
    I am also frankly tired of it being inappropriate to point out how bad the prev 8 years have been in every possible way.

    These wingnuts look back all the time. Looking at the past for a time when it would have been impossible for a black man to be president is where these wingnuts live.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  12. Carole, San Diego

    In the study program that will go along with Pres. Obama's speech he was going to ask children to write a letter to themsevles saying what they would do to help him.

    But no one knows what he wants help with. How can you be upset about something that has not happened yet!!!! Maybe be he was going to ask the kids to help him keep kids in school, or help him make schools more friendly, or anything else.

    Why do people assume he will "brainwash" children to his so call "evil socialist ideas."

    If people are up in arms about something they know nothing about, that hasn't happed yet, it is not real concern about kids is is just a chance to take a pot shot at our President.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  13. JR

    Shameful, absolutely shameful, the depths that neo-cons have pulled our country into, know no bounds.

    I don't think they would do such a thing if he were white.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  14. Pat - Overland Park, KS

    This is the craziest thing I have ever heard. First of all the public school system is federally funded so it is the right of the President of the United States (regardless of party affiliation, color, sex, etc) to address our school children.

    My second point is that if this were a republican president would there be such an outrage. Reagan did it and so did the 1st President Bush. There was no outcry then about them pushing their political agendas which they did.

    Third, is it really a bad thing for the President of the United States to encourage our children to study and stay in school?

    I do not get this debate at all. There are more important things in this world to worry about than an address by the legally elected President of the United States to our school children.

    President Kennedy asked the questions, what can we do for our country. Bush asked children to write letters to the president. What is so different?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  15. Wendell

    I do not want my children to hear his speech as he is far too liberal and does not have the values that are needed. He has too many liberal weirdos as czars that shows he is not too savy.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  16. SDman

    We have spent near a trillion dollars in Iraqi, no problem, we continue to spend 300 million dollars a day there killing men, women and children over a lie. We invaded that country for no reason err.. oil? Every ones a hero though. Not a word about debt or deficits! And we are still spending like mad for killing!
    But for our citizens to have some health care opponents say no, it adds to the debit?
    All of the other top industrialized countries of the world offer their citizens free health care. Many of their health care systems are better than what we have here.
    Were in the good old USA people go to the emergency room for health care at $800.00 a visit verses $100.00 if they went to the doctor. The government picks that tab up, you. Plus if you need to go to the emergency room you are going to be less well cared for because of overcrowding and tired staff.
    Now we are slaves to the boss, the company, for if we leave we can not afford any health care. My company keeps saying how lucky I am to have them keeping health insurance costs down but they offer smaller raises and more out of pocket expenses, and higher deductibles which is a cut in my paycheck.
    Unemployment benefits is a government run program, I suppose we should do away with that also. How about farm subsidies, tobacco subsidies, defense (offence) subsidies like to Grumman and Locked Martin and Boeing Aircraft and the list of corporate subsides goes on and on and on?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  17. Amanda


    September 4, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  18. Steve

    The furor is not over the simple fact that the president wants to address school children. The problem is that the White House has delivered a 'prescribed curriculum' to accompany the speech. With Obama working so hard to take over or otherwise get involved in various industries, the thought that the government is trying to prescribe education to public school children is a valid concern.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  19. Michael Bernier

    Wingnuts? What about all of those 'wingnuts' Obama has hired to be his advisors and czars? I don't want him any more than I would want Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez speaking to my children about any subject.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  20. Mac

    I don't see why everyone who disagrees here with President Obama's plan to address school kids is automatically a racist. I don't really want any president giving a blanket speech to my kids. If he wanted to make this about families, and invite the families of America to sit down at 7:00 at night together, and watch him on TV and listen to what he has to say to school children, and then ask the family to do what they can to make the United States of America a better place to live, I would be fine. I have a problem with him broadcasting a speech that I can't watch, distributing a packet of materials to teachers that I can't review, and then asking my kids to do things to help President Obama rather than our country or our community. I don't and didn't want George Bush, Bill or Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, or George Washington doing so, either. Reach out to us together as a family and involve me in what you're asking and telling my child.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  21. Mark62yearoldwhitemale

    These people are apparently under the believe that it is cheaper to dig graves than to insure those who are not.
    They rubber stamped two wars we are fighting now. Once again its OK to kill our own people and people in other countries but no way can we take care of our own. The money we spend on these wars can insure the uninsured. What happened to these so call religious people, have they no compassion for anyone but themselves

    September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  22. Joe McGrath

    This article has done its purpose. Make people ignore the true issues, increase polarization, and play the race card. What happens if races other than caucasians disagree with Obama? Wait. I'm sure they are all programmed by old, evil white men. Get a grip, get a life.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  23. nicholas

    "Those on the right are trying to turn the President of the United States into a fearful figure."? Pretty scary bunch the GOP. But thats what they do best..spread fear to gain public opinion on their side. They did this through the Bush Presidency and look where it got Iraq with 2000 plus dead soldiers and all those weapons of mass destruction. The GOP ARE DESTRUCTIVE AND THE BIGGEST THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  24. The Pajama Underground

    Quite honestly, Pete stark is a disgrace. Every time he opens his mouth he sets democracy back decades, because he really doesn't like the idea of people being able to oppose his radical left hate-America agenda.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  25. truculentturtle

    I am not surprised by the ranting of this verminous columnist. He as the rest of the media have been in the tank for Obama for years. Never mind that he is a totally ineffective president with no grasp on the pulse of the nation nor any understanding of National security issues... His take is "Talk them to death". he feels that this way we will win any arguments in the face of rogue regimes. He has surrounded himself with carbon copy ideologues that are "Socialists"in their view... He himself sided with Chavez and Castro against The Honduran ousting of its dictator a;though both their parliament and court systems found the going ons of President Ayalla completely unconstitutional.
    Now te media and the Liberal vermin press would want you to believe that the GOP and the Dems who object to this President are either racists, fascists, unpatriotic, and basically hicks who just object for objecting and to create problems where there isn't any.... NOT TRUE... I voted for the bum and he let me down big time with his bailouts and his overall incompetence. We went from Bush who wasn't qualified to be named as dog catcher, to Obama the incompetent court Jester.

    Voter's remorse??? of course there is Voter's remorse and its not because he is black that's crock. We are headed in a worst direction than when we had that other incompetent fool and Hamas sympathizer... Jimmy Carter... Wasn't he a democrat too...?

    God help us all. We absolutely have to retake our country back and save our hard fought values from becoming extinct under this empty suit.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  26. Mark62yearoldwhitemale

    Maybe we should spend less on bridges to nowhere and wars in countries to kill our own people and foreingers, and spend some of our money on a health insurance option and take care of sick and dying people here. We need to wake up and get our heads out of the sand, the insurance companies will never insure sick people.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  27. teres

    "wing nut" "brain dead" Democrat and Republican whatever. All look very stupid fighting among each other. Shame on all. Overall, America look very stupid right now among others eyes. Everyone is dragging this country to a shameful place. No ethics and no morals just fighting. Has everyone fogotten why this country was founded on and for? Personal responsibility, accountability, and opportunity is what make this country free and great. Not government!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  28. jack

    president obama's speech is political propaganda to a vulnerable group, to wit: kids. if there is any doubt that this is political propaganda, the exhortations to "help" the president demonstrate the purpose of the speech. just as children should not be exposed to toy , candy or other commercials that subvert their parnents' ability to judge what is best for them, so children should not be exploited by political propaganda. one can just imagine what the uproar would have been if president bush had tried this stunt!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  29. Melissa

    Districts in Houston area letting teachers decide to listen or not.
    Very concerning – I hope these aren't the same teachers we see on the news making decisions on their own.
    Why aren't district taking responsibility for this decision ?
    Seems like the president of the greatest country on earth could find another audience to address.
    Give the talk when children are at home and parents can make the decision.
    Seems inappropriate......scarey

    September 4, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  30. Alex Winter

    This "controversy" is so pointless and stupid. What's wrong with our country?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  31. David

    It doesn't matter if you are republican or democrat, this is the FIRST time a sitting president is doing this sort of thing. Reagan and Bush spoke to students after the shuttle disaster, 9/11, the war on drugs. There is NO precedent for what Obama wants to do here. I have voted both democrat and republican in my life as I vote for the person NOT the party, I am a middle of the road type person, has nothing to do with politics or anything, but has EVERYTHING to do with my children.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  32. Diane R CP Fla

    One thing aobut the rightwingnuts – they spew hate speech and then cloak themselves in the Constitutional Right to Free Speech. Just so they know, there is no guarantee of free speech for fomenting hatred. Perhaps Congress needs to redress the "Fairness Doctrine."
    That should really scare the snot out of these lunatic fringe talking heads. Perhaps then we could return to the days of rational discourse about our disagreements with the direction of the country.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  33. Nathan

    This nonsense will never end. These people on the right have nothing to say so they say whatever comes into their little brains. They remind me of the kids who get into an augument and just blurts out "I know you are but what an I". The problem is not that they spew this kind of nonsense. The problem is that they can get some people to buy it. They are so paranoid that they don't even see the hypocrisy of their augument. Suggesting that a socialist wants to preach personal responsibility shows just how uneducated and void of any kind of reasoning these kooks are. We need to move forward without them and relegate them to their rightful place in American history. Another fringe group of nut cases.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  34. Bingo Prattville, AL

    In re s.watt who wrote: "I think that America should be ashamed. The point of the uproar is not President’s Obama’s views, its that “White America” does not want a Black man adivising their children on personal responsibilty. Let’s be honest."

    Okay, I'll be honest. I am sick and tired of the racist attacks against those of us that disagree with President Obama's policies and are mislabeled as being bigoted against a Black man. My disagreements with President Obama have absolutely nothing to do with his color (after all, we are all part of the human race) and everything to do with his big government, wealth redistribution, apologize for America policies. Race or color does not even enter into the equation and the attempts to characterize the issues as such are the worst form of racism I have seen in a long time.
    If my children were still in school (both adults and graduated now), I would be very pleased to have the President of the United States address them to encourage them on their scholastic efforts. But the mistake was made by President Obama's administration (not necessarily President Obama himself) when the Department of Education tried to "suggest" syllabus events after the speech. This smacks of the efforts of the former Soviet Union's "Little Octoberists" and "Young Pioneers." Separate the Presidential speech from current politics and I have no issue with it.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  35. Jay

    To pretend the right wing "wingnuts" are in any way similar to liberal, progressive politicians trying to promote responsible policy is to soil the idea of objective journalism. When someone says something outrageous, it is not incumbent to find something mostly common sense on the other side and call it "outrageous" in the name of "fair and balanced."

    Really, just call a spade a spade: right wing extremes don't have a valid counterpoint in the left because we depend on reason as a basis for decisions – so extreme statements quickly become sidelined instead of becoming mainstream! There appears to be no counterpoint to this in the right.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  36. JeffC

    When did encouraging and challenging children to do their best in school become a partisan political issue. We all want, we all need our children to do their very best.

    Critism of HW Bush, notwithstanding, If the POTUS was white this would not even be talked about.

    Who is running the GOP ship ... You better gain control. Then again I'm sure they don't care, because its all about disract, distort, and lie.

    FEAR ... the black president is going to getcha! What fools!

    Massage no EGO's ... Suffer no GOP FOOLS!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  37. Mark62yearoldwhitemale

    You racist prejudice people want to censor the President because is is Black.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  38. KC

    All of this hysteria is becoming a little ridiculous to me. I would describe myself as in the middle, I want to see the policies that make sense and will help people put into effect in this country, I agree with the Democrats on some things and the Republicans on others. The biggest problem in this country right now is that there are not enough people holding power that have this view, so there is no cooperation to do the right thing.

    I am a high school teacher, I will be showing the video, I WILL NOT be having a policy discussion in my class, and sadly one of the reasons for that is because my students would not be able to engage in a policy discussion intelligently.....We all need to take a hard look at what is REALLY wrong with this country, and I will tell you this, my children, as they get older, will be able to gather information in order to make sound political decisions on their own....a skill that has obviously missed a few generations.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  39. Bob

    What 77% did you see wanting a Public Option in Insurance? All the polls I saw said 77% of Americans are against a Public Option and are fine with the insurance they have, not wanting a government-controlled medical program. Your statistics are wingnuts!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  40. lynn

    As a parent ot 2 honor students, i feel the presidents original speech that asked children to write to the president with suggestions about how they could help him was great. This was an opportunity to show children that their opinon does count in government and that it is their right to to get involved. if the parents were so concerned, they should of requested to review their child's letter before turning it in. As for those we do not want their child to hear the president, wow! why not let your child miss every moment in history. frankly some of the fuss is due to racism and the fact that their team did'nt win. Stop crying this is our president now.

    Give me a break in texas

    September 4, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  41. Lauren

    Re: Health Care...Do Republicans really want to maintain the status quo? If that answer is yes, then they must be in support of insurance companies dropping individuals or denying coverage to those who have developed serious medical conditions b/c they are too costly. They must also be in support of those who lost jobs/recent graduates/and the self-employed who are forced into buying individual health insurance with pre-existing condition limitations clauses. Clearly, they must also be in support of those who, through no fault of their own, develop serious medical issues, like cancer, and are bankrupted due to the high cost of medicine and care. Can't people see that our current system of for profit insurance is destroying American families. People are being denied coverage, being dropped from their insurance, and being forced to pay the high cost of prescription drug coverage b/c we sure love to give those big drug companies record profits year after year. Enough is enough. All who claim to be "good Christians" or "good 'insert faith'" or good non-believers need to take a hard look at how we are currently treating one another. Yes, maybe your health insurance is fine, for now, until you or a loved one experiences one of the awful scenarios above. But, shouldn't we help out our fellow Americans in distress. Health care has nothing to do with hard work, and should not be linked to employment. Some employers don't offer group health coverage b/c they cannot afford it, or if they do, it's too expensive for some employees. Recent college graduates and the self-employed are often faced with no health insurance, b/c the individual plans are too expensive. So they risk going without it, only to be bankrupted if a casualty were to occur. And let's not forget the individuals who are dropped from their coverage by the for profit insurance companies b/c of a costly illness, when they are in dire need of that insurance. The system needs revamped, and it needs revamped now. If you don't like the proposals that are currently on the table, then the Republicans need to offer some alternatives. Instead, all they do is cry "socialism". If we can fund the high cost of wars, then we can certainly find a way to ensure that all Americans are covered. To me, this is non-negotiable. It should be the same for every single one of you, as well.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  42. Jake

    Brandon: You are absolutely right. Nobody – and I mean nobody – should talk to anyone's children but their own about such a hyper-partisan, "room for disagreement" topics like the importance of working hard and getting an education. Not teachers. Not principals. Not pastors. Not mentors. Not friends of the family. Nobody. I mean, can you imagine how awful it would be if a man who worked hard, got an education, and was just elected to the highest office in this country spoke to impressionable young children and told them to work hard and get an education? Wow. I shudder to think what horrors might result! I think we all lost track of our "common sense" for a moment. Thanks for helping us out!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  43. Debbie Gomez

    When are we going to decide that enough is enough? Freedom of speech is one thing, but this kind of talk makes me sick to my stomach. I thought we were supposed to be the greatest country in the world. Does this garbage make you proud? I hated what GWB did to this country while he was in office, but as angry as I became, you would never hear me talk about him the way people are talking about Obama. Considering the pile of *hit GW left us in, I don't remember people threatening his life or wishing him dead. I don't care what party you're in or whether you voted for Obama or not. If you're an American and you believe in our history, the Constitution and the spirit in which it was written, you don't behave this way. I thought we were better than this. We NEED to be better than this. Grow up.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  44. DwayneL

    I don't have a problem with him speaking to kids, I don't like the original game plan of him asking kids to write him letters on how to help. If he doesn't know how to do his job he should step down. As evident by the ever increasing unemployment rate he obviously doesn't know what he's doing, but you people thought a community organizer would be fantastic so we're all stuck with him until he's voted out in 2012. Unfortunately, the damage he's causing will take many years to correct.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  45. deyoung28

    Advance his political agenda??? To who? All the students across the country in which only 1/12 of them are old enough to vote.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  46. brad

    You people who tout the race card are only hurting your caues. I am a southern white man that voted for the president . But i will not vote for him again ,if ever time i disagree with him , i am called a racist. WOW . He is not doing what other presidents have done . But you all have failed to mention this in any of your racist comments about us . I want to know what tha agenda is With anyone who is addressing our kids ..So i guess all you libs are racist? must be you disagreed with gw on just about everything .Called him ever name in the book . You racist lol sounds very stupid doesnt it !!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  47. LexJeff

    If Obama wants to inspire me or my kids, stay focused on the economy and try not to run us all into bankruptcy. I don't necessarily mind him speaking to the school kids, but provide the speech text in advance (since we all know he won't deviate from the TOTUS) and let us decide if we want our kids to participate. My high-schooler will participate regardless since I want her to learn to critically think about current events. My kindergartener will not since I want her to focus on learning to read and add and subtract rather than worrying about what she has to do to 'help the President' achieve his hidden agenda.

    As a side note to all the left-wingnuts, quit playing the race card. It only shows that you have absolutely nothing valuable to add to the conversation. There are reacists on both sides of the aisle. Those of us in the center need to push their influence aside. In fact, Obama's race is about the only 'cool' thing about his presidency so far.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  48. Mary

    The reactionary and rediculous comments about President Obama's speech to students in U.S. schools is yet another piece of evidence that the politicians making these comments have no respect for the President, the Presidency, our society and its history, and educators. They will use anything they can to blast the President for political gain and fear mongering. It's worse than the McCarthy era. At the heart of their "wingnut" comments is deep racism, fear and loathing and power mongering. The Republican politicians are willing to use our school children to generate more fear and hatred and conflict. Any other president in history who planned to give a motivational address to school children to "work hard and learn well" and be personally responsible would be lauded as a symbol of the leadership of an American president. I am so proud of President Obama for doing this. As a retired (white) educator, I think we need more of this – public leaders inspiring our school children to work harder and learn more, to make the U.S. more competitive in the world and ensure each child's successful contributions to it. Those Republicans are pathetic, pathological, mean spirited and reckless in their attempts to bring down our President.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  49. Stacy

    Mr. Avlon I appreciate your article and I can't really disagree with the points you make. But I wish journalists and their employers would focus more on the rest of America, not just the squeaky wheels at the outer fringes of our political spectrum.

    The "wingnuts" are entertaining and titillating, for sure, but they don't have to receive the amount of coverage and attention they get. America is so much bigger and broader than what is portrayed in the news today.

    I beg news organizations, and journalists like yourself, to tell the rest of the story. It is a disservice to our country to be hyper focused on the extremes. We need perspective. What ever happened to that?


    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  50. jeff

    So when the liberals media complains that Bush 41 was speaking to school children directly, that was hard-hitting journalism. When the conservatives complain Obama is speaking to school children directly, they are winguts. Only in America, land of the Left lately. How about a speech when kids are home, so their parents (remeber them, Obama?) can discuss, instead o fthe kids getting the political views of their teachers as explanation? Makes too much sense to me.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  51. Matt

    Shag....77% of people want health reform but far fewer want the CURRENT PROPOSED health care reform. Statistics and "facts" can easily be intentionally misleading or manipulated by the current administraction (just like the last) to push its agenda

    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  52. Fred

    "This knee-jerk name-calling and hyper-partisan hysteria is the latest sign that things have become completely unhinged..."

    Yeah, you're so right! Those "Wingnuts" (well, that just the name I call them)....wait a second!?!?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  53. Ron

    Are you kidding me! Are these people nuts? Let me get this straight...the president wants to talk to school children about taking responsibility for their education success. Wow, what concept and what a great idea. Well, we wouldn't want children to be responsible for anything would we? Well the right seems to be letting their paranoia get the best of them. Swinging at anything they can to get a foothold on their sinking platform.
    Well, keep it up! You just show how irrational you are and how much you don't care about the American people but only your sorry asses.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  54. Paco Pantera

    Dont call me a racist, call me well-informed. I dont want Barrack peddling his agenda to my child. Contrary to what Barrack and the liberal left would like you to beleive, the world is NOT ending tomorrow and you know what, AMERICA IS GREAT!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  55. Brian

    The crux of the problem is this:
    Since all of our high paying manufacturing jobs have gone over-seas and nothing but smoke and mirrors ( and your ATM House-Card ) have kept these spoiled consumers above water....
    Many of you are rightly miffed that the punch bowl and your pacifier have been taken away.
    You need to GROW-UP and accept responsibility for YOURSELVES!
    You SPENT yourselves into this mess.
    Your GREED keeps you there.
    Clean up your household finances.
    Do you really need all that CRAP you buy every day?
    Keep it up and this country will end up like one giant ghetto......
    Waiting for next months welfare check.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  56. Deb

    First a comment to MD, NO ONE is trying to force socialism onto anyone, whoever listens to Rush Limbaugh and his ignorant comments should check the accuracy of the "facts" that he preaches about. I believe he started screaming about so called socialism.

    Second, I watched Anderson Coopers interview with Greer last night and I could not believe that he would actually say that with a straight face. Any self respecting american would not say those things. Mr. Greer must not have a love for Americanism.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  57. Rick

    Amazes me the names liberals use to describe conservatives and the accusations they make about our motivations and tactics.

    Have you all forgotten the disrespect and negative blitz made on President Bush? Talk about a sad statement on shallow values and the nature of our society.

    I have no issue with Obama talking to school kids if it is a simple stay in school message. I get concerned when kids are asked to write memos on how they can help the President. Help him do what? I guarantee you if Bush had tried this CNN would have been all over him.

    Two standards for CNN and the liberals: the standard you held Bush to and the standards you ignore for Obama.

    BTW, on the racism thing, get over it...if anyone is racist it is the "African-Americans"...they choose to be distinguished differently from Americans and insist every single little thing that doesn't go their way is racially motivated...jeez, enough already.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  58. Libby

    I would understand Obama's challenges if they pertained more to behaviors of children including a pledge not to cheat on tests and be respectful of other kids as well as other children. Kids don't make choices about the cars their family drives and other agenda he has proposed.................get real!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  59. Rizztex

    Oh the race card. People still use the race card when they have nothing left to say for personal gain? Please people lets stop this NOW. The problem I have with the speech is the wording of it and the taxpayer dollars that are going to the books being sent out the week before. A book Obama wrote. This whole idea is to self centered to Obama and it's less about the purpose. That's the problem I have with it. Many presidents have given their childrens education speech, but it's never been ABOUT the president. Lets have less or a rock star wannabe and more of a President making good choices.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  60. Mark

    Why is it ok for the Bush's to speak with school children but not Obama? Further, GWB was actually READING to school children when 9/11 attacks occurred!!!

    For African American kids, this is a GOLDEN opportunity to see a man who became POTUS as a African American because he stayed in school, worked hard, and did what he was supposed to do. I would think Republicans would cheer and applaud a Black POTUS trying to make sure that young black kids wouldn't be another crime statistic! They aren't; they'd rather them end up in jail or dead. How ridiculous!!

    I am not a Dem, but this is another example why I refuse to vote for Republicans: they are two-faced and hypocritical. This is a CONSTANT theme whether it is Sanford being hypocritical, or the RNC spewing this kind of insane ridiculousness.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  61. Cujo

    Can we stop the insanity? I mean, the president adressing school children on personal responsibility. Isn't that a conservative concept? Shouldn't the conservatives be beaming with pride that a black, liberal democrat president would so boldly embrace the concept of personal responsiblity and try to impress that importance on school children. After all, they are the future of this country.

    Oh, it's the academic exercises that are a problem.
    Imagine that, exercises after the speech to develop critical thinking. Exercises that permit children to think for themselves and not necessarily take everything that is spoon fed, or rammed down their throat, at face value.

    Independent thought, A.K.A. brainwashing. The potential to agree, or disagree, A.K.A. choice. I can see why conservatives are so hysterical that the president might actually try to do something to benefit the future of our country.

    The president was actually elected by a majority of the people of this country...this time. He represents the people of this country, like it or not. Even the belligerent, loud mouthed ignorant ones that think they are entitled to drown out civil discourse and debate. The right to a dissenting opinion is well established in this country. The right to spread lies and fear and hatred is not. The irrational and irresponsible behavior of the people with a dissenting opinion thus far has been deplorable, their hatred is glaringly transparent.

    The message that is planned, is one of personal responsibility and encouragement. The messenger however is liberal and democrat and, oh Yeah, better walk on the other side of the street, or better yet just keep your kids at home.


    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  62. brinnie

    Prejudiced? Not at all. Here we have a socialist President who spends money we don't have. Bush ruining the economy? Ask the Companies who got stimulus money and then went on vacation. The Treasury can't print money fast enough to keep up with this man. Secondly, I wouldn't allow my children to listen to his rhetoric. He is a smooth talker – with little to say. It's about time America woke up – before it's too late.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  63. Steve in Bama

    Based on the supporting material that teachers were supposed to use, it is a foregone conclusion that this speech would be "historic" and "inspiring". Teachers were being encouraged to hang quotes from this speech around the classroom.

    Welcome to Cuba.

    Welcome to Venezuela.

    What can I do to help the President? He's such a nice man. Whatever he wants must be for my own good.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  64. MikeB

    Both President Bush (Jr.) and President Reagan made direct addresses to school kids. No one objected at the time to that. Right-wing leaders like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are trying to incite some lunatic to assassinate the President.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  65. Ann Rommel

    The reaction to the President of the United States planning to speak to public schools demonstrates all the more that education in the past has failed. Public schools, after all, are a capitalist program to train future employees in the three 'rs' so that they would be useful employees in an industrialized society. You don't need to be able to read and write if you are harvesting crops, but you do need these skills to work in an office or measure the length of a 2×4.
    ALSO, as a former President, Thomas Jefferson knew, an educated population would (and will) be needed to govern a democracy. The fact that Jay Leno can find people who believe that Hawaii is not a state, or do not know the names of their senators or representative shows how horrible public schools have failed, both the students and the public also.
    I also suggest that racism is alive and well, although those who ARE racist are not about to admit it.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  66. joe

    I can't believe the knucleheads that believe that President Obama is going to try and brain wash the children that he will be speaking too. What in the h#@#@ is this world coming to?! The person that stated their children will be absent the day Obama comes to their school, and all the other right wing nuts that follows right behind Jim Greer. You all need to get a life and if you think you can run this country better; then you should had ran for office. Let's see how well you can run this country with the many problems George Bush and the Republicans left us with. Republicans make me sick because all they do is point fingers and always trying to stall progress. They didn't do NOTHING while they were in office. However, they did do a good job putting us more in debt the 8 years they were in office. *Pat yourselves on the back for that one* Let the President handle his business!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  67. FranciscoD'Anconia

    Let's be honest here. Democrats DO NOT want children study hard to equip themselves to be self sufficient and unreliant on the government. If that happened, the Dems would be out of freakin' business. People that worked hard in school and today provide for themselves, are now the targets of the Democratic agenda. Somehow hard work has caused poor children to grow into privileged adults, that should share their wealth with former classmates that didn't work as hard. The Dems want to promise fish to the masses of former lazy students in exchange for their support and devotion. They certainly don't want to teach the masses to fish for themselves.
    Now, those Americans that worked hard to make a better life for themselves are getting called racists because they don't beleive that the fruits of their labor should be confiscated and given away to the masses, as bribery for allegience. By the racist rationale, I supposed conservatives don't like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi because their white??
    If Obama wants to sum up his philosophy to the students he should just tell them that the harder they work, the more they'll be forced to give when they grow up, and the less they work the more they'll be elligible to recieve. "From each according to their means, to each according to their need." Then let the children decide for themselves how hard they want to work under such sorry circumstances.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  68. Rohan

    How do you address ignorance? You ignore it! I'm not republican nor democrat but the republicans seem to have nothing to offer but unwarranted criticism. Based on the behaviour and BS that seems to be coming from that side of the room i'm inclined to think Republicans share the same 12 year old brain.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  69. Bob

    Why can't people just disagree with one another without resorting to name-calling?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  70. Katsky

    I think the people who are so concerned about this are crazy, but I don't really think race is the issue. Some of you seem to have forgotten the pure venom they flung at the last white Democratic president, Bill Clinton. They hated him just as much and went after him just as much. I agree that they cannot accept that Obama won the election decisively, but I don't think it is because he is black. It is because they can't face that the country has turned away from their ideas and wants more of a social safety net for all provided by tax dollars. That just really burns them up, even though quite a few of them would benefit.

    I think it will actually be harder for them to go after Obama as a person because he is black and many attacks, especially any that have to do with women, would be perceived as racist. So they are apoplectic about everything non-personal that he does.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  71. Mrs. Smith

    This is really crazy. Since when has this ever been a problem. I'm glad he is engaging the youth. It makes them feel apart of things. Hmmm... maybe that's the problem. In some sicko's head there is a thought that if the kids like Obama it will turn them into liberal democrats. Well I heard President's speak when I was younger and I still voted the way I wanted when I became an adult. This is just insulting. People really need to look inside their hearts and figure out what the real problem is. There is so much anger about a man who shows none to others. I'm really just saddened and disappointed by the whole thing.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  72. Guess I'm a Liberal

    Greer's comments include, "I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda". Hmmm, taking this literally, it suggests that he 'does' support 'using our children as tools to spread' some other ' propaganda'. 'wonder what 'that' would be. Hate, fear, prejudice and a 'right wing' agenda?
    I also noticed that the only inflammatory comments used in these responses were by those who support the 'wing nuts' opposing an interaction with school children by President Obama that replicates those made by both President Bushs. What do you suppose 'that' suggests?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  73. Greg

    I say bring it on, crazy republicans, because by making a big deal out of Obama's speech to school kids, you continue to turn the majority of normal Americans away from the republican party.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  74. Tony

    Guess the alarmists didn't see the recent article in Parade Magazine by Back Door Billy Phone Sex of Fox unfair and unbalanced, tabloid TV fame, urging children to emulate Barrack Obama's model for achievement.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  75. ryan

    S. Watt,

    Stop playing the race card until you have a leg to stand on. Don't forget that an unprecedented 95% of a certain demographic voted for Obama. What does that tell you?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  76. Jim from Denver

    Clearly, the Republicans are trying as hard as they can to run down President Obama because they think that his success is their loss. I wish they would put "country first." I do think the Blue Dogs are not being logical when they claim to want fiscal responsibility but oppose the Public Option which seems to me like the easiest way to reduce the cost of health care.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  77. John Dockum

    This article very clearly states that the Department of Ed is changing the language of a lesson where the kids write letters to support the president. I don't know why people keep claiming that this aspect went uncovered in the editorial. I have not heard the speech so I am not sure if the lesson plan asks the children to do something questionable or not. How many letters from children pledged to help Bush keep America safe? Plenty, I imagine.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  78. jim

    republican fools.

    what a terrifying world they must live in.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  79. duh-beer

    Why can't the President speek to MY children during the evening while I am watching with them?
    Why the need to separate parent and child for a "chit-chat" with a "Dear Leader".
    The freaky-deaky meter just pinned out.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  80. Dave

    Once upon a time, Americans (and to a great degree, the world) had reverence for the office of President of the United States; regardless of the party or politics of the person holding that office. When did this all change? And WHY should "the world" consider America to be a leader of nations when their duly elected Commander-in-Chief is shown such disdain by so many of his own people?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  81. jim

    What an insane country!!! Please just shoot us and put us out of our misery.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  82. Tina

    You are all missing the point. No matter who the President is (Dem or Rep, white, black or purple), it is GOOD to emphasize the importance of education, it is WRONG to put kids (or anyone) in a poisiton where they can suffer poor consequences (bad grades for not agreeing with a teacher's ideologies) for having a different opinion. So many things can go wrong on the lesson plan front. It's just wrong. If it was just the President encouraging kids to work hard in school, etc. I would say it was great. Again, it doesn't matter WHO the president is. It's just not right.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  83. Janet

    You Americans really are a pitiful bunch – tirade against "knee jerk name calling" and in the next breath call people wingnuts.

    Without a doubt, the most disappointing nation on the planet!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  84. M. Pinkerton

    I weep for our country! The divisiveness that has arisen doesn't help anyone! To threaten to hold your children out of school so that they don't hear the President of the United States speak to them about the importance of staying in school to help them to be productive citizens is just sad and ludicrous. Name calling and out and out lies from both sides is counter-productive. The screaming at town hall meetings accomplishes nothing. Intelligent dialog is what we need! Less hatred focused at people you disagree with is what we need! Our enemies are thrilled to see us fight amongst ourselves and not get anything accomplished. Osama bin Laden doesn't need to set off any major weapons to destroy us, our divisiveness will do it for him. Remember Lincoln's words, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." We ALL need to take a step back, take a deep breath and and stop villanizing each other. To quote Maya Angelou, "We are more alike, my friends than we are unalike!' Try to see that in those that you disagree with...that is the grassroots effort that needs to take place!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  85. Jim F.

    People...the president gives a speech on doing well in school and working hard.

    The kids are then asked to write a letter about how they will help the president. They're kids, they're going to write about helping the president by "studying harder" or "reading an extra book". Come on there is no grand conspiracy. Sometimes things are simple.

    Also William....the US investment in the banking industry occurred during the Bush administration. While the current president fired the CEO of GM (what a concept, demanding accountability from a CEO who wants taxpayer support), the Bush administration removed the CEO of AIG and threatened to remove the CEO of Bank of America if they did not buy Merrill Lynch. Not one additional American company has received taxpayer funds that was not already receiving them when Obama took office. The TARP funds are being repaid which means the government's investment in the private sector is decreasing. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

    That sound you hear is Thomas Jefferson weeping......

    September 4, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  86. Jennifer

    What ever happened to the responsibility to civics in this country? When did asking kids to think about their president or their country become a means for political agenda only? When did asking kids to question what they can do to help the president or anyone, for that matter, become wrong? Why are some parents so afraid to let their children critically think? Maybe if some kids were asked what they thought more or how they could help this country, they would stop looking at the TV and start discovering and expanding their abilities.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  87. Zach Grisbee

    People are surprised by angry rhetoric? Really? After listening to 8 FULL YEARS of the same rhetoric against Bush, the left now wants to let us know that disrespecting the president is something new. Now that we have a black president (half-white too, btw) that can't be disagreed with because he is not white. C'mon give us a break.

    In regards to the idea at hand, speaking to the nation is fine. Addressing our schools is fine as well. However, requiring homework that glorifies the president is completely different. I don't want my children having to listen to celebrities pledge their allegiance to the president. We pledge allegiance to our nation, not the office of president. That is a dictatorship. I don't want our nation being told as young schoolchildren that it's ok to pledge their allegiance to a single leader. That destroys democracy and the republic that we currently have.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  88. Lawrence Brown

    CNN ( COMMIE NEWS NETWORK ). CNN has worked hard to keep their name in the news. CNN should move to Iraq or to some other muslim country. Obama will not take the USA down.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  89. Ronn

    I have a question:
    When president John F. Kennedy asked America
    "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country", was he labelled as a 'socialist/fascist' as well?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  90. Eric

    Where was President Bush when the 9/11 planes hit? Oh yeah, he was in a class room talking to school children...

    Where did Dan Quayle flunk spelling 101? Oh yeah, in a class room with a bunch of elementary school children.

    Presidents have been addressing children for as long as I can remember, so this whole thing is just an embarassment. I'm embarassed to be commenting on it.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  91. billy gisher

    Looks like Dick Cheney wasn't the only one to lose his mind in a jungle of paranoia after 911. This thread is filled with people living in perpetual fear of everything that does not conform to their perception of what is good and right. Their opposition seems to be quite angry with them, while failing to realize these people are sick and cannot help themselves.

    These diseased individuals are however quite loud, (screaming is common is asylums) and they are not going away, nor will they stop offering themselves up as human logs to be rolled in front of progress.

    I choose not to live in fear and I will take the advice offered by the diseased right whenever anyone points out a problem:

    I will happily leave the country. Any evil socialist country will do, as long as the health care is better than it is here. Looks like I have a bunch of choices.

    See Ya.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  92. K's mom

    The outrage has to do with the ideals the president holds and whether or not those ideals are what parents want their children to be taught. It is not a new concept for a president to speak to the nations school children to encourage success, however this is the first time that the Department of Education has sent out accompanying materials which Avlon conveniently failed to mention. I sincerely wish that the people who comment that this is a race issue would come to the understanding that it has NOTHING to do with race.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  93. Ralph H.

    Everybody keep talking about the insurance companies spending money to block Obama. Didn't Obama meet with drug companies and take $80 million pledge from them. Why do you think they did that? It was not because these are great people, they want Obama to keep them out of this health care debate.
    People must realize that if the government plan will to pay for the same drugs, doctors and hospital cost. How can they beat private companies? Even if there is 'no profit' in the government plan, the waste will be equal profit- net result, the same as we have now.
    We need to examine all aspects of health care cost, not just the insurance end.

    A question to the public, if claims exceed money collected/budgeted, who will pay the difference on a public option??

    September 4, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  94. doktorij

    Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

    So everyone against socialism should get out of OUR National Parks and Monuments, Public Schools, Interstate highways and don't bother to call 911 for help. Guess we should break up the Military too while we're at it...

    Anyone who knows anything about teaching also realizes that using someone or something the children can identify with is beneficial and common.

    The name calling has gone beyond tedious. The paranoia and disinformation that generated it is destroying this nation. Wish there were more Republican Senators like Snowe and Collins...

    September 4, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  95. Jlynch

    "I find it comical that right-wingnuts always criticize Obama supporters for thinking that he’s the ALMIGHTY or the MESSIAH, when they’re the ones pulling their kids out of school over concerns that Obama will work magic voodoo on their children. I mean, you folks are mind-numbingly, galactically stupid."

    Nuff said. Seriously, people? I remember snoring through Reagan and Bush, Sr. and noone asked for a freakin' permission slip, and noone gave my parents an "opt out". He's the President of the United States of America–show some respect. He won, lots of folks voted for him AND for change, AND public option, so just deal. Hey, maybe there should be tolerance classes taught in our schools, right along side of a REAL Sex Ed class!!!

    September 4, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  96. frustrated

    Isnt it funny how now that we have a democrat president, he has been called everything from socialist, communist, to terrorist, when not too long ago when the president was republican, if you said anything against what the president was doing you were called unpatriotic?

    September 4, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  97. Ann Lord

    The starched white hood is slowly being pulled from the face of the Republican party and by their own hands. The ugliness and evil that lives in their hearts and souls are now there for all Americans to see........It ain't pretty man, it ain't pretty.............

    September 4, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  98. Lynn

    Questions such as the so-called offending materials being offered for discussion after President Obama's speech have been used for many years in classrooms. I remember paying close attention to films and the 1960 Presidential debates in order to form opinions to use during classroom discussions. I think the wingnuts are afraid of honest discussion because the "man behind the curtain" might be revealed and students might actually "think" instead of just being the reactionaries like the wingnuts prove themselves to be.
    Get a grip parents. Hold your own discussions at home if you are so afraid. Of course, free thinking will most likely be discouraged at home. Encouraging good listening to any politician's speech is great, no matter if it is the President or any other politician. Thniking is a worthwhile pursuit. Too bad so many seem to be against it.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  99. Brad

    "its that “White America” does not want a Black man adivising [sic] their children on personal responsibility [sic]"

    If I read one more idiotic comment saying that because I don't agree with Obama's politics I am a racist, I am going to scream! Will someone explain to the wingnuts on the left that this has NOTHING to do with race? Will they also explain to them that they look like idiots when only the left keeps bringing up race? I don't care what the color of his skin is, or his ethnicity. I, and many like me, simply want the government to stop trying to take care of everyone. Return to their Constitutional responsibilities. Nothing more, nothing less.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:16 am |
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