There once was a political operative who loved to tell crowds he had a simple way of explaining to children the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
“Republicans get up and go to work,” he would tell his son. “Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks.”
This man not only talked to his son about Republican values, he went into public-school classrooms and talked about them as well.
That man is Jim Greer — the same Jim Greer who, as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, just threw a nationwide hissy fit, claiming that the classroom is no place for politics and Barack Obama’s “indoctrination.”
One Seminole County mother, Barbara Wells, remembers the day Greer spoke to her son’s sixth-grade class. “My son said he made some sort of Hillary Clinton joke,” she recalled.
I was intrigued by the links to a Washington Post story about George H.W. Bush speaking to school children on October 1, 1991. My daughter was in school then and I didn’t remember hearing about her watching any such event.
On WESTLAW, I looked up other news stories about the speech. It was reported as 10 minutes in some reports and 12 minutes in others. It was carried live on CNN, PBS, and [the NBC] and Mutual radio [networks]. The Secretary of Education sent a letter urging schools to have their students watch, but I didn’t find any evidence of how many schools followed that recommendation. And most striking: Bush laid out goals — to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school — and said, “Let me know how you’re doing. Write me a letter. I’m serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.”
Miller has identified precisely the process at work in the healthcare hysteria and, increasingly, elsewhere where the GOP thinks it can shove the Obama administration into a ditch. Republican officials such as the Florida state chairman are playing a dangerous game with an unhinged segment of public opinion that regards Obama not as an elected official with whom they disagree, but as an illegitimate usurper of the presidency.
That paranoid fantasy is what’s really behind the “birther” movement and the allegations that the president is — take your pick — a secret Marxist or a secret Muslim.
It’s the kind of fanciful anxiety that produces comments like this, posted on a conservative website this week: “Barack Obama and his left-wing Chicago machine regime are putting into place laws and institutions which will insure that there will never again be free elections in America.”
These are the people who are stockpiling ammunition and keeping their children at home next Tuesday.
I wouldn’t worry about the lunatic fringe. Reason’s glibertarians have assured me it is all left-wing paranoia, and besides, “respectable” Republicans are kinda sorta boycotting WND, but not really. No need to worry about the fact that this anti-Obama movement and attempt to otherize and de-legitimize Obama is actually being fomented by the mainstream leadership of the Republican party.
Nothing to see here. Just keep on walking.