The Only Reason

Filed in National by on September 7, 2009

Mike Mahaffie nails it.

I took the liberty of running it through wordle to see what the top 75 words would be.

Apparently, it’s all about “School.”

So much for “indoctrination.”

There is an argument developing in the comments on Pandora’s post that seeks to change the story about why there was an uproar. But one thing seems clear to me: It (the uproar) is pretty much just a load of crap and should be ignored. The problem I see is that uproar appears to be the preferred mode of public discourse these days.

Ignoring the right wing is impossible, though, when we give them the megaphone. This applies to our media, to our President, and to ourselves. Their arguments are nothing but lies. From saying Obama was not born in America to saying that healthcare reform will have death panels to kill all the old and disabled, to this latest completely fabricated tempest.

Nothing. But. Lies.

Maria Evans just repeated that revisionist history in the comments, saying that the outrage led to the withdrawal of the lesson plan last week with lightning speed. Well, if was all about the lesson plan, then why has the outrage continued??? Yes, this revisionist history is a lie. They were upset that the President of the United States wanted to speak to school children about hard work, responsibility, and education. And the reason you were upset is because, and only because the President of the United States is a man named Barack Obama.

That is it. That is the only reason.

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  1. cassandra_m says:

    The lesson plan was not withdrawn — one sentence of the tasks was changed. Instead of writing a letter (not sent) to the President, they would write a letter (not sent) to whoever.

    And the lesson plan — like the speech itself — was always optional.

    To add to Mike Mahaffie’s effort here — a commenter over at Balloon Juice ran a word analyzer on Reagan’s completely ideological speech to kids and finds that Reagan couldn’t find himself capable of talking about school, parents, teachers, education or responsibility.

  2. Maria Evans says:

    What outrage, DD? Did you even read what DA posted at DP? Obviously not. But then DA’s post about the speech doesn’t fit your agenda.

  3. Delaware Dem says:

    No, Maria, I saw where David made fun of the Indonesian reference, in a “joking” attempt to create another Birther conspiracy. If that is the Anderson post of which you speak, then I must say you are insane if you think that is a good post.

  4. Maria Evans says:


    “The White House has released prepared remarks for the President’s address to our children. It is what I expected. The President is inspirational and encourages the children to take responsibility for their learning. Thankfully the over reaching suggestions by the Department of Education have been dropped, and all we are left with is this beautiful piece of prose.”

    No, this one. Which I’m not surprised you ignored, it doesn’t fit your agenda.

  5. cassandra_m says:

    The “over reaching suggestions”?

    Still with the outrage theater…

  6. Cassie — have you read that Reagan speech? It is not an ideological speech, unless you think talking about America and American values is ideological. The only ideological or policy angles came in the question and answer section of the speech, when students asked him policy-related questions.

    Oh, and by the way — the word “I” appears in the speech three times (appears 56 times) as often as the word “school” (56 vs. 19 times) — so by the logic of the above post, the speech is really about Barack Obama.

  7. Delaware Dem says:

    Kudos for David for that. I did not see that post, Maria.

  8. Delaware Dem says:

    You see, the outrage continues. They are now attacking the nonpolitical speech for the use of the pronoun “I.”

    Nothing will placate them. Nothing short of the President resigning and somehow installing Sarah Fucking Palin will.

  9. Explain to me how talking about low taxes is non-ideological. I get it now. If conservatives like it, it’s o.k. If conservatives think it might be bad they freak out. Only conservatives are allowed to indoctrinate children.

  10. anonone says:

    DD: Read the whole post before you send any “kudos” to the torture-lover for his tripe.

  11. Delaware Dem says:

    Precisely, UI. It is OK when a Republican does it. It is never OK when a Democrat does ANYTHING. A Republican President can do anything he wants. A Democratic President must do what the Republicans want, and nothing else.

  12. Maria Evans says:

    Talking about taxes is totally ideological.

  13. DD,

    Excuse the crude metaphor, but conservatives have already shot their wad on the school speech. I doubt the use of the word “I” will get any traction now. No, the next conservative freakout is about all the czars in the Obama administration. Never mind that none of those people are actually titularly “czars,” they are called “advisors.”

  14. For the sake of clarity, I should point out that the word-cloud generator at wordle removes common words like “I” because they are not important to a serious review of a speech’s content. Not that anything I do is ever serious.

    And, since I can, I just did the same “analysis” on Reagan’s speech from 1988.

    Mr. Reagan appears to have been talking about people pursuing change for a One World revolution for an American America.

    Or some shit like that.

  15. And interestingly enough, Reagan managed to use the word “I” just 19 times in that speech.

    “Remember, kids — it’s all about ME!” — Barack Obama

  16. I’ve added a graphic of the Reagan word-cloud to my original post.

  17. anon says:

    Come on, this hatred of Obama, this your kids aren’t safe, he’s a socialist, a communist, he hates America, he’s not an American, hes friends with terrorists, the vile and hatred (this from people who call themselves Christians???) is all about racism and fear. Nothing more, nothing less.

  18. pandora says:

    Has this nonsense now turned into an outrage over the word I? Seriously???

  19. Well Pandora, the speech turned out to be nothing objectionable, the lesson plan thing is just silly… so what’s left? A pronoun.

  20. cassandra_m says:

    Really, should should go directly to Mike’s post at his site to see the word cloud.

    The difference in content of these two speeches is pretty amazing — one from Regan full of political, ideological wording and the other from Obama very focused on school behavior or attributes.

  21. Gee, you guys just don’t get it — my comments about the use of the word “I” are intended as satire. Lighten up!

  22. pandora says:

    Then use an emoticon when you venture off your normal script. 🙂

  23. And I’ve got to tell you folks — if Barack Obama were to give the equivalent of that Reagan speech, I’d be thrilled with it. That is just the sort of speech I’ve said I wish he was giving — one focused on our nation’s constitutional heritage and what makes America America. It would be a phenomenal teaching opportunity, not merely a pep talk.

  24. Remember when I said Obama was a cautious centrist and I was ridiculed?

  25. I never saw reason for outrage. Thank you Maria for pointing that out to them. I found the styles interesting. President Obama tells more about his personal story to share inspiration. President Reagan shared more of America’s story. Both are valid and I said neither is right or wrong. I don’t know were you feel the outrage.

    As for trying to start a new Birth controversy, the President did that all by himself. I was just laughing about the coming splicing of his words that you can just see coming. I was more so laughing at the push to sweep up good people who have the finest intentions in another meaningless movement. Far from trying to start it, I was tamping it down just a little with humor.

  26. I even went through the trouble of promoting the President’s appeal on 20 TV networks to children over a week ago.

    When he does the right thing, I give him credit and support. When he is on the wrong track, I don’t follow along. A year ago, they called that patriotism.

  27. Geezer says:

    “unless you think talking about America and American values is ideological.”

    Yeah, actually, it is. In a world without free movement of people to the countries that best match their ideologies, nationalism is merely a contest between people boasting about the patch of earth they happened to be born on. Do you think the folks in Yemen sit around all day bitching about Yemeni values, or do you think they consider them the best in the world?

    As the old Italian brothel operator tells naive young Nately in Catch-22, “There are 60 countries fighting in this war. Surely they can’t all be worth dying for.”

  28. donviti says:

    Obama is black.

    the Alpha and the Omega

  29. Scott P says:

    Gee, you guys just don’t get it — my comments about the use of the word “I” are intended as satire. Lighten up! – RWR

    I am perfectly willing to take you at your word that you were joking (and it’s actually kind of funny). But don’t you see, the fact that no one was able to tell that you were joking is an indictment of you (the right), not us. To us, almost everything coming from the right the past year or so sounds like a joke. If tomorrow Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and McCain held a press conference and said that everything they’ve said for the past year was meant as a joke, I would more readily believe that than I would that they meant it for real. It would be the (what do kids call it now?) greatest punk of all time.

    I think when no one can tell the difference between jokes and your real talking points, maybe you’ve gone too far.