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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama Speech to Students Over: Schools Still Standing

Or: We've Always Been at War with Oceania

The President has completed his much-discussed speech to the nation's school children, and while it did take time away from classroom instruction, it did not include blatant protheletizing or the ill-conceived study guide asking students how they could help the President.

I haven't seen video of the President's matriculation speech yet, but Fox News published the White House's prepared remarks.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey points out that Democrats crying foul over the controversy are all wet, since Democrats went so far as to hold hearings when President Bush made a similar address in 1991. And he chides Republicans upset at the use of schools for political purposes to remember that President Reagan used a far more political passage in his speech to schools in 1986.

The Obama Administration really messed up the rollout of this speech, mainly because of the Orwellian cirriculum sent out by the Department of Education. Aside from that, the real issue is why the President needs to co-opt limited classroom time to tell students to study hard and wash their hands. The very banality of the President's remarks underscores this Administration's obsession with being at the center of everyone's lives.

I had lunch today with some respected friends in Washington, and one pointed out that the only thing that bothered him about President Obama's speech was the eerie similarity to the Cult of Personality propoganda of third-world dictators. On the first day of school, students are herded in front of a video screen to be inspiried by the Dear Leader. I'm sure vaguely creepy wasn't the image that the President was attempting to portray.

Overall, no harm was done. Perhaps schools who chose to carry the address could have used the time better on academics, but surely a few students here or there got something out of hearing the President's words. And schools which opted-out of the speech exercised their responsibility over their own cirriculum. Everything else is political theater.

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