September 06, 2009


Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Someone in Obama Spin Central made a bad mistake: attempting to push a politicized lesson plan for elementary school kids to use following the president's speech to them on TV. It wasn't all that important in itself but symbolizes an apparent desire in some quarters to replace Muzak in our lives with the sound of all Obama all the time.

The lesson plan included such tacky political recommendations as having students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

Elsewhere the lesson plan suggested sample questions including, "Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?" and, "Is he challenging you to do anything?"

Once the plan was exposed (and the Review was about the only progressive journal to help in this), The White House quickly dumped some of the objectionable language. For example, the plan now suggests that students "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals."

The spinmeisters pulled out a classic non-apology. Said one, "That was inartfully worded, and we corrected it."

But other Democrats were not content to correct and move on. Instead they tried to rewrite the script so that it was only about the president giving a speech. Nothing about the crummy lesson plan.

And the liberal media joined the fray. MSNBC's John Harwood, for example, badly misstated the issue by claiming, "I’ve been watching politics for a long time, and this one is really over-the-top. What it shows you is there are a lot of cynical people who try to fan controversy, and let’s face it, in a country of 300 million people, there are a lot of stupid people too, because if you believe that it’s somehow unhealthy for kids, for the president to say "work hard and stay in school," you’re stupid." Nothing about the lesson plan.

Now it's true the Republicans and conservatives leaped on the issue as could be expected. But the Democratic and liberal media tried to argue that all those opposed were in this camp as well.

This reflects a growing Democratic tendency, whether the issue be end of life decisions, gun control, or politicized lesson plans issued by the president's staff, to treat all those opposed to the Democratic position as stupid conservatives.

And since that isn't true, the Democrats end up insulting an awful lot of people who just don't happen to agree with them on one issue. People like school superintendents who have decided not to run the speech because of its political context or parents who are also troubled by it.

Take for instance Vasselboro Maine parent, Micki Stetson, whose two children attend Vassalboro Community School. According to the Morning Sentinel, "Stetson said it's great that the president is giving a pep talk to students and that children will look at this as 'sort of a good thing, something they will remember,' but that 'the department was overstepping its boundaries. I believe the questions asked were advocating an ideology, as opposed to a critical approach. They shouldn't be asking a child how this figure inspired you. What if the figure didn't inspire them? That's political propaganda, and I don't believe that should be portrayed in the school."

Do John Harwood and the Daily Kos think Micki Stetson is stupid?

What good does it do to assign such a name to those who happen to disagree with you on one issue? Especially when even the White House tacitly admitted they were right by removing the objectionable language?

And if they do think they were stupid, would this category include the former Democratic House majority leader Dick Gephart who in 1991 said of a George H. W Bush speech at a Washington junior high school, "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students."

You start calling people stupid for disagreeing with you on a few issues and there's no telling who will end up in the pot. And every one is less likely to vote the way you want after they've heard your low opinion of them.