The right wing scream machine


by David Safier
If it wasn't clear before, there's no doubt now that the right wing scream machine has turned its volume up to a continual roar. I felt it on a visceral level as I sat through Giffords' town hall on Tuesday, and I hear it on every media outlet, about every possible issue having to do with Obama and any other Democrat the right thinks is important enough to be attacked.

The Bush administration, Republican politicians and the right wing media screamed in outrage at everything the Democrats said or did when Bush was in power, until Dem members of Congress acted like victims of battered wife syndrome. Now that they're out of power, they have a larger target than before, and their assaults are continual, and louder than ever.

The latest? Obama is planning to address students as the school year begins. Great idea. If he can get students to focus a little more, if he can get parents to pay a bit more attention to their children's educations, the benefits could be immediate and long lasting. And I honestly think he can make a difference, with this speech combined with other education talks, addresses and videos he puts together throughout his administration.

But they're screaming. Shrieking. Yanking their kids out of school that day. Schools are intimidated, so teachers in some schools are required to get permission slips from parents before children are allowed to hear the President speak, as if the teachers were planning to show an R rated movie. The President of the United States wants to address the nation's students because he cares deeply about education, and the right is creating howls of protest.

If they're successful, they'll drown out his message, and whatever good it might do, in the process.

I imagine Obama will say some things some parents will object to. Sure. That's how things go, and have always gone, when leaders speak in this country and everywhere around the world.

Go ahead, commenters on the right. Tell me how Obama is going to be speaking to a captive audience, that he'll be spewing propaganda at all these impressionable young minds. You can play that card all you want. You're as aware as I am, that's not what the screaming is all about. You're generally politically savvy people who understand this is part of a systematic game plan cooked up by expert strategists to keep Obama and other Dems off balance, keep the crazies inflamed and keep the persuadable middle confused.

And children are the pawns being used in this phase of the game.

I can't really say this kind of assault is unprecedented in American history, because I'm not much of a historian. But I can say this is unprecedented in my lifetime in the sheer quantity and intensity of the attacks.

UPDATE: Here is the page on Dept of Ed website discussing the event, if you're interested. Also, you can be certain that part of the scream strategy is to flood schools and school districts with calls protesting Obama's address. Some calls supporting Obama would be helpful by way of balance.


  1. Until humanity can reach a point where politics isn’t needed I have no bitter complaints about Barack Obama winning and Michael Steele not being the president. I am happy every day that the US hasn’t bombed Iran and I’m fully willing to give points to Mr. Obama for whatever steps he takes to not increase. The point isn’t the color of their skin but their political beliefs and their positive accomplishments.

    I am not a Republican. I am not a Conservative.

    I am a Libertarian. I voted for Bob Barr for President in 2008.

  2. You conservatives bellyaching about the President addressing anyone he chooses forget one thing: He’s the fucking President. It’s his job to lead. And that means communicating with everyone – including youth. This is just pissy-pants sour grapes. Your guy lost. Get the fuck over it. There is no issue here. GHW Bush did the exact same thing rolling out his education proposals. Go cry into your beer on someone else’s blog.

  3. So you don’t trust the teachers? Sad to be that paranoid. This all boils down to the fact that you are sore losers and can’t stand that there is a successful black man in the White House. I’m expecting tomorrow’s right wing outrage to be: Obama STILL BLACK!!!!! OH NO, lock up your children.

    The stupidity of your faux outrage over every breath he takes is really tiring.

  4. Sara, I’m removing the comment you made. Criticizing content, or even clever snark, is fine, but not simple attacks like this one.
    Dave Safier

  5. mbryanaz,

    There is a difference between imposing Fairness on private businesses and requiring that government not favor leftist speakers such as President Obama over non-leftist speakers.

    Government should not favor one group over the other which is why it shouldn’t be permitted to grant special deals (or national presentations) that aren’t available to all on a neutral basis.

    Private businesses and private groups should always be able to pick and choose who they want to associate with.

    This is part of the reason why there is a conflict (and always will be) whenever government is in charge of handing out goodies and special access, whether the realm is government education, government broadcasting licenses or government health care.

  6. Francine Shacter:

    Given what’s in the Education Dept’s proposed lesson plan, it doesn’t take a sick imagination at all. The gripe, or at least the reasonable one, isn’t that something in Obama’s address will be harmful but rather that schoolteachers may not approach this in an appropriate way.

    See for fleshed out treatment of that. Punch line is down at the bottom.

    The White House has already backed off on the Dear Leader Letters idea, but the administration is still pushing boundaries with this lesson plan and parents are right to push back.

  7. In case someone has forgotten, he is the President of the United States – Our United States – and I think it is a good thing for children to see the personna of The President of Our United States! He is an incredible roll model for each and every black child in the schools – parents can now say “See! you could someday become the President, too!” It takes a sick imagination to think that an address by The President of the United States is going to harm school children – rather, it will make them consider themselves important since THE PRESIDENT considers them important enough that he will address them.

    Y’all who oppose this need to sit down, have a nice cup of hot tea – a bit of lemon and honey, maybe, and calm down!!!!!

  8. Kids in the public schools are a captive audience, and you must acknowledge that the White House is really testing boundaries with the talking points that went out to teachers. Tom Horne is right about this one…

  9. You have to admit–although for some reason (partisanship?) you don’t even mention it–that the suggested activities lists coming from the White House might reasonably lead some to believe that their children will be propagandized by teachers!

    “How will he [the President] inspire us?” is not appropriate for children, especially in government schools, in a free society.

    Look for more about this–from an AZ angle–on Goldwater State ( later this evening.

  10. David:

    When in your time as a Teacher did ANY President specifically ask the kids in a Public School System to focus on The (3)Three WORDS of his speech that most effected that particular student?

    The other stuff asked for about content of “THE SPEECH” will be discussed in “The First Day Of Classes??”

    Get Real!

    Kids don’t know the Teachers they have but NOBAMA180 pre-empts ALL???

    I point out the fact that NOBAMA180 has NEVER attended a Public School in Hawaii or in Indonesia nor do his kids attend Public Schools or ever will!

    I would have preferred if NOBAMA180 would have given the speech he plans on presenting to Congress to the KIDS and the speech he has p[lanned for the KIDS to CONGRESS!

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