Obama's shocking speech to schoolchildren

September 8, 2009

President Obama spoke to students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia today, and his remarks
were simulcast in schools around the country. The president’s message
to American schoolchildren? Show up to school. Pay attention, do your
work and be responsible. It will help you get ahead.

Religious right leader Tony Perkins was anticipating something a tad more controversial. The Family Research Council president went on TV
late last week to bash the upcoming first-day-of-school speech and the
president’s education policy, and FRC’s Washington Update noted that the administration’s move was unprecedented. (It wasn’t. For more, see Dan Nejfelt.)

Now
that the president’s given his predictable and inoffensive speech,
you’d think FRC would post something acknowledging this, maybe even
taking credit for pressuring the White House into changing its plans and
planning an event that all Americans can embrace. You’d be wrong. The
organization’s home page currently leads with a Perkins piece
explaining how even a bland, policy-free speech is a problem because of
the past affiliations of Department of Education leaders Arne Duncan
and Kevin Jennings. If this argument surprises you simply because it
doesn’t really make any sense, then you’re not that familiar with FRC’s
brand of Christian leadership.

Meanwhile, Glenn Beck and other right-wing types finally succeeded
this weekend in pushing out the administration’s green jobs czar—Van
Jones, a groundbreaking African-American environmental activist and a
top expert on green jobs. Score one for vindictive politics and zero for
green jobs innovation, for the diversification of the environmental
movement, for the environment itself.

With a loyal opposition like this, who needs enemies?