Buy My Book Here

Fox News Ticker

Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some Thoughts On Obama's School Speech

There are several reasons why I haven't been nearly as outraged by Obama's speech to school kids on Tuesday as many in the blogosphere on the right. First, I've long been on record as supporting more of Obama's education policy than I oppose. Second, I think everyone should agree that the president can and should be a role model to many children. That's not merely because he's the president. He's overcome a lot in his life. There's plenty of life lessons to be learned from his life story. He overcame a childhood full of chaos. He overcame a period of drug use and irresponsibility and he largely made his success on his own. Bill O'Reilly said as much in what should have been a very non controversial article in parade last month. Finally, and most importantly, I wanted to make sure that I didn't reflexively oppose everything that Obama did simply because it was an Obama proposal. I know that four the better part of eight years there were plenty on the other side that gave that treatment to Bush. I don't believe that everything is wrong simply because Obama proposes it.

I certainly don't think that a president addressing kids is a bad thing per se. Nor is it unprecedented. If the speech focuses working hard, setting goals, and overcoming, that's exactly the message we should all applaud from the president. So, anyone that opposes the speech on principle is simply being a partisan. The president can be a role model for kids, and he should be.

That said, there is plenty surrounding the speech that should concern folks. The major cause of concern were some of the questions that were attached to the speech. The most troubling was a question that asked kids how they could help President Obama. Another was a question that asked kids what was most inspiring about Obama's speech. In sales, we call this an assumptive close. By this, I mean that the planners assume that the kids are on board and supportive. As such, they ask questions that are framed in support of the president. That's not only presumptive but it also lacks any critical thinking. Kids shouldn't be manipulated into following along. Instead, they should think critically. It's exactly the wrong thing to teach kids. We should teach kids to support the office of the presidency reflexively but not the president occupying the office. Kids should be taught that dissent, as long as its honest, is good and healthy. Rather than assuming that kids will love the speech, the proper way to have done it is to ask more balanced questions. Much better would have been what is the best and worst part of the speech.

Of course, after the furor, the White House augmented the curriculum and it's now largely acceptable to all. This brings me to the last part of the analysis. The White House has called much of the outrage "silly". This outrage isn't merely coming from pundits with an axe to grind. It's also coming from parents. I saw one on television show in which a parent was offended that all of her complaints were being dismissed. This is not the first time that the administration has downplayed complaints of the voters. This is a stunning pattern. The White House not only dismisses the complaints of opponents but of the voters themselves. That's not only full of arrogance but totally destructive.


Anonymous said...

Mike, the fact of the matter is that there are in fact people out there who reflexively oppose everything Obama advocates because it comes from Obama and they just so happen to be voters. Call it arrogant if you must but a certain amount of arrogance is necessary sometimes when it comes to politics.

Anonymous said...

So what are you complaining about. The parents are the VOTERS who did not support OBAMA in the first place.
It's "silly" to think that they would support anything he proposes.

lisa said...

They do not give themselves credibility for sure when they use their dismissive tone. It really does show a level of arrogance.

That was definitely one of the most intelligent explanations I read regarding this.

His approach to this wreaks of partisanship. I wish he'd stop trying to act like a ruler and start to act like a leader.

I just read where this woman was keeping her daughter home and giving her an assignment to figure out her portion of the debt and to calculate how long it would take her to pay it off.

Mike Licht said...

After the President of the United States speaks to school children about the value of education, Republicans will make opposing comments extolling ignorance.


lisa said...

He knows 15 year olds will be of voting age in 2012.
If anyone has been paying attention they know Obama is a cunnning politician who is known for getting his way even if he has to persuade children.
Talk about education fine. But do not use a classrom as a platform for your politics and we do not need the federal governemnt to dictate a left leaning question and answer period to go in the president's favor. That's what teachers are there.
I love the way the left gives him a pass on everything and anything. All objectional viewpoints have gone out the window.
I pledge to Obama!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just the way we are suppose to give a pass to everything shrub, dickie-poo and rummy-dummy did for the "betterment" of our country and their pocket books for the past eight years. Give me a friggin break, Lisa!

lisa said...

Believe Anon Bush didn't get a pass on one thing Where were you the last 8 years?
Right now Obama gets a pass on the huge deficit he racked up, the failed cash for clunkers program,every media outlet but one is defending his speech and as I recall when Bush 41 did his the democrats held hearings.
Not to mention the skyrocketing unemployment numbers. Oh but we can always serve the president to make us all feel better.

Remember 10 Downing Street,10 Downing Street, 10 Downing Street to name one of many.

.Maybe you should give "me" a break

Marvin Sussman said...

Obama inherited 90% of the national debt. His 10% includes 7% due to the stimulus program that most economists agree was necessary and even too small.

lisa said...

That will be his excuse to spend us into oblivion"He inherited" it.
As I recall Bush inherited a recession as well.
Fannie and Freddie,Unions,Mal-Practice Lawyers,cap and trade,oh my!
I guess Obama inherited those as well. I guess they have been longing for a redux of the Carter years .

Marvin Sussman said...

Sufficient unto the day is the Evil thereof.

If you are damning Obama for the stimulus or financial bail-out, or some other policy, attack the policy with facts and logic, not with a red herring.

We will make no progress without facts and logic.