Give A Wingnut An Inch, He'll Take A Mile
Republicans have gotten increasingly crazy. Ideas that would have been laughed out of a Birch Society meeting now get the full treatment on cable and throughout the media. The "Nancy Pelosi is trying to feminize America by taking the patriotic music off the Capitol hold music!!!1!" non-story springs to mind. But this is all being driven by success. How it works is:
1) Wingnuts throw a hissy fit
2) Democrats try to be reasonable by offering a concession
The President is giving a national address to schoolchildren on September 8, the first day of school. It will stress the virtues of hard work. The wingnuts think he's recruiting a Hitler youth brigade. They point to some supplementary materials containing the suggestion to kids to "Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president," clearly pointed at helping him realize their own goals, since the speech is about kids working hard and bettering themselves. Off that thin strand we have this confab:
Gordon directed me to the official teaching materials that the Department of Education has posted. Gordon especially took exception to this part of the materials: "Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals." I pointed out that this item came from a list of bullet points headed "Extension of the Speech," which clearly means it's in the context of the speech on personal responsibility and academic goals.
But Gordon begged to differ. "Why are you willing to accept that in good faith, the Obama administration is asking them to write a letter in the context of the speech," said Gordon, "but you're not willing to accept in our release, where we're saying there's no guidelines that it has to be in the context of the speech?" [...]
"Our point is that there are some questions about this address that need to be answered, and parents need to be given the option to choose whether or not their children who are students are going to be expected to watch this propaganda in a public school," Gordon later explained. "Students can't pray in school, but they can discuss new ideas and actions that the President is challenging them to think about. Well, I know that a lot of the President's ideas don't reflect my values and don't reflect the values that I would be teaching my children. And to be quite honest, there are a lot of the President's ideas that I wouldn't want my children discussing in a public school. It's not appropriate, the place for that is in the home."
I asked Gordon how this is any different from presidents routinely visiting classrooms, or the President's Challenge in gym classes (which I certainly hated, being the non-athletic nerd that I am). "This is different than trying to make sure that you have a good level of physical fitness," she said. "It would be a different if President Obama were going into a particular classroom on the first day of school and encouraging students to work hard and achieve academic goals. It's diff from sending out a blanket set of guidelines for a specific address that is supposed to be shown in every school, talking about how you can help the President advance his new ideas."
That's just plain crazy.
And so the Department of Education responded by altering their supplementary materials, in essence admitting that they were wrong in the first place.
If this is a bar fight primary, the Democrats are spitting up blood in preparation to spit up more blood. So conservatives learn that the way to win is to freak out in the craziest way possible and watch Democrats try to placate you.
Meanwhile a report shows that gun shows are the leading source of violent crimes in North America, and 2/3 of the vendors are unlicensed, but I see a hissy fit neither here, there, or anywhere...