Van Jones, September 8th Obama Education Speech, and Who are the crazies out there?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If you don’t understand why people have a problem with Van Jones, the hubbub about Obama’s speech today, or concerns over Obama and his administration at large, then I entreat you to a little walk down memory lane. I’m sure you think many in this country have gone crazy. Maybe they have? Or maybe, just as the right often over emphasizes the power of the left-wing dominated mainstream media, you have over asserted the power of right-wing dominated radio? In truth, most people right or left think for themselves and formulate their own beliefs from their own experiences. The difference is that in your support and trust for your philosopher-king, you’ve pardoned, overlooked, mentally blocked all the instances leading up to the criticisms of Van Jones, of Obama’s school speech, and even of Obama altogether. The following NPR article certainly has. I’m here to point out a few things that you’ve forgotten or missed.

A good friend and excellent blogger, Left Coast Rebel, has been out covering the Van Jones “scandal” and the Obama September speech. I suggest you check out all his crazy and outlandish opinions on the matter, there are some that have certainly commented on it. If you need validation, check out the NPR article I linked to, Daily Kos, or others. Believe me. You don’t need to search hard to find someone that thinks the country has gone crazy and overly sensitive to our President. There is just one problem. It’s not the 2007 primary races. It’s not the President’s first day in office. If you remember, nearly the entire country was behind Obama from the start. What happened? How did we get here? How did we go from, “We’re All Socialists Now” to pulling children out of school when the President gives a speech? I’ll give Keith Olbermann a hint and it’s not, racism! It’s simple really. Obama has lost the trust of the American people. Obama has lost his credibility.

Let’s start with Van Jones. You can believe that it’s crazy to have a problem with him. After all, he’s not in an important position. Or you can look at the entire context of Obama appointees and you are faced with a President who has done a horrible job vetting his appointees. To date he has appointed 8 tax cheats, two under criminal investigation (Richardson and Car Czar Ratner), and now concerns over Van Jones.

Obama inherited many things from Bush, one such heirloom was a gross expansion of executive power. Obama has worked hard to implement the machinery that continues the use and expand on this inherited power as well as manufacture new power. The executive branch was not running banks, but now we are and with that, executive pay. The President was not running car companies, but now we are and with that, giving away interest in companies to union cronies. The executive branch was not running the IGs that would provide oversight for Van Jones, that power used to be shared with congress. Don't worry, because congress wants to ceed that power. I doubt Obama will object. With a passive democrat controlled congress, who’s to question Van Jones if not for the American people and tell me why that is such a crazy idea? Especially given Obama's track record on vetting.

Obama’s education speech is an even easier topic to cover. One can’t show a Disney movie in school without someone objecting. Why? People are sensitive to what is taught to their children. Atheists don’t want religion in school and the religious don’t want atheism in school. It’s a sensitive subject for all walks of thought.

Now tell me who had a problem with Obama giving a speech? Most media outlets pegged the problem correctly and asserted that people had a problem with the proscribed lesson, not the speech. They were concerned about what the lesson would be teaching. What were the teachers going to be teaching and reinforcing? What do you expect with an open-ended lesson plan and no details on what the speech was on? It came out, way after.

I want my child to hear Obama speak. Especially, if I’m present and can use the event as an opportunity to point out the problems with flowery, pro-centralized government mentality. However, who, that ascribes to the ideology that free-markets are the best way to run an economy, would not object to a lesson plan crafted by someone who said some of the following at Notre Dame’s graduation commencement? After all this is the last address Obama has made in an academic setting.

“This generation, your generation is the one that must find a path back to prosperity and decide how we respond to a global economy that left millions behind even before the most recent crisis hit -- an economy where greed and short-term thinking were too often rewarded at the expense of fairness, and diligence, and an honest day's work.”

I assert that this statement is not in the mainstream of American thinking and though it has merits in the realm of rational, thoughtful, adult discussion. It does not belong in the halls of elementary school, where children are impressionable. I suspect Obama would have the tact to leave ideology out of his speech, as I expect teachers to do the same. However, I can exercise my right of oversight over a teacher and demand to see the teacher’s lesson plans. I’m sure many parents do. I guess people are crazy for wanting to see the President's.

In the greater context of what is and has happened since the Obama administration has taken over the reigns of power, is the nation going crazy? Even Obama has declared how “dramatic and unprecedented” his handling of the economic crisis has been. A moderate takes dramatic and unprecedented action? “Remaking America” is a phrase from a moderate? It is funny this idea of a moderate Obama, the idea that only seems to get floated when radicalism is seen from the mainstream as something bad. Yet when Obama speaks, he always speaks as one trying to gain acceptance for bold, new ideas. Change, right? That’s not the viewpoint of a moderate. A moderate speaks to people matter-of-factly because the people already believe and ascribe to your ideas. Or maybe he’s a moderate, because you’ve moved so far left? I’ll leave you to figure it out. I’m going to join the rest of the crazies and continue to voice the need to diminish Obama’s expansion of executive power.


TAO said...

Con Gen,

Now, if this is true, "In truth, most people right or left think for themselves and formulate their own beliefs from their own experiences." then we would have to assume that the polarization that exists today and that is much more extreme than what it was just a generation ago was due to experiences?

Actually, recent studies have shown that people are NOT as rational or logical in their thinking as you would like to believe (see: people basically are irrational and do not look at facts and then develop an opinion but rather cherry pick the facts that prove a preconceived notion.

September 8, 2009 at 3:47 PM
Teresa said...

The polarization of this country has increased since Obama has entered office. Yes, it probably did start prior to him entering office, but he was supposed to bring people together and be a different kind of politician. Obama has proven to be even more of a divider of the country than past Presidents.

Van Jones was way far out of the mainstream and the Obama administration knew it. Since they agreed with Van Jones's views the Obama administration didn't even have him fill out the Czar questionaire. they did not have him vetted. Since the Obama administration did not take their job seriously, to vet Van Jones correctly, they basically made it the public's responsibility to make their objections known regarding Van Jones being far, far out of the mainsteam America. His views entered KOOKDOM.

And, Yes Obama has lost the trust of the American people in just 8 short months. Between his "fishy" email request, hiring tax cheats, and to his speeches he has proven to the American public that he is not the same person that he purported himelf to be during the campaign. He is not a centrist. Obama is about as far left as you can get without hitting the Pacific Ocean.

September 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM
robert verdi said...

the most precious commodity on the planet is people's children. Considering Obama embraced a 9/11 truther why shouldn't parents be a bit leery.

September 8, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Great post, you hit every recent issue from a great angle, I love your Pacific Ocean quote!

September 8, 2009 at 5:52 PM
The Law said...

It is completely fascinating that the right have the... shall I say cajones to even mutter the words "expansion of power." None of your right wing peers were complaining a single bit when Bush pushed the boundaries farther, and farther, and farther. There are still many on the the right that think Guantanomo is still a good thing! And then you say Obama is furthering that expansion of power by talking to school children?

I'll give you the takeover of GM and Chrysler. I have stated my disagreement with it in the past. But no matter how you cut it, Bush's expansion of power didn't even serve American interests! Obama wants a more eco-friendly America, a smarter America, a healthier America, and you call that exapnsion of power?

And the lesson plan? I can see where some people could misconstrue that message. Still, it speaks volumes of the parent's inability to expose their children to other points of view and use he moment as a teaching tool - why Obama sucks, or what can you do as an individual to help your president. Help your president... Danny, how can you help me do a better job for you? The right really make Obama sound like a perverted, dangerous man in the van across the street from the elementary school. He is our President for goodness sake!

Lack of trust for the president is a cop-out. The right from day negative 45, have not given the man ONE single chance. Truly, disappointing. The pre and post reaction to the speech is so incredibly dissapointing and frankly depressing.

September 8, 2009 at 8:56 PM

@ Tao - since you sent me to your blog, I replied on your blog.

@ Teresa - yeah, I would imagine that actually reaching out to the right side of the isle might help with the whole moderate look.

@ Robert - Very true!

@ LCR - Thanks for the compliment!

@ tL - Just saying that the right hates Obama is the cop-out. When Obama started, his approval rating was what? 85%? That's both a lot of the right and a lot of people that didn't vote for him. I myself gave Obama a shot. I thought his stimulus bill was a joke. I thought it was rushed and poorly thought out. It all got worse from there.

If it isn't a loss of trust, what's your theory? 4 months ago, you were telling me that the right was becoming more and more insignificant and now the accusation is that we hold all the levers of power and all the channels of communication.

September 8, 2009 at 9:33 PM
The Law said...

hehe, not insignificant, irrelevant. And the far right continues to prove this. It takes a whole lot of effort to build. It takes next to nothing to destroy. And that is precisely what the right wing in this country are doing. Because they have few good ideas of their own, their answer to reclaim power is to break down and de-legitimize Obama. From the claims that he isn't an American citizen, to him being a socialist, to this new notion that Obama is a scary guy who will brainwash our kids (the republicans - Beck, Hannity, Ingram, van Sustren, and O'Reily do a mighty fine job of that already!) There were some republicans who came to the table with good ideas like Tim Pawlenty, Charlie Christ, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (now an ambassador in the Obama administration) and the fringe right ripped these guys to shreds. (BTW, major kudos to Pawlenty for being a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow show to defend conservative opinion at a time when your populatiry was at the lowest).

I've never suggested anything in my response that would indicate a belief that the right hold all the levers of power and channels of communication. They don't have to. Get a crazy idiot like Michelle Bachman, and a baseless, ranting, ignoramus like Hannity to plant a seed of hateful dissent, and word of mouth does the rest.

The bigger issue CGen I have with the right altogether is something straight from you in fact:

Taken from your comment on Episode 74 on my blog - I actually do not disagree with everything he has or is doing. However, so far, I fundamentally disagree with his major policies. The stimulus, cap and trade, and health care. I haven't had time to laud anything I think has been a move in the right direction.

You haven't and neither has anyone else from the right. And I suspect they never will. Everyone is looking out for their own interests, the United States of America be damned. What does it say about a culture that fails to respect their leader at the most basic level. Not trust... respect. Boycottcing the president's speech to school children (which was not in anyway whatsoever political) is downright disrespectful. Especially considering right wing hypocrisy over the speech - the republican posthumous superhero Ronald Reagan also delivered a speech to school children that indeed "indoctrinated" them about the need to lower taxes in order to raise revenue. Is this worse than Obama's speech, or does Reagan get a pass because the right agree with his views?

There is nothing wrong with political dissent - in fact it's so intergral to our version of democracy that the power of dissent is included in the First Amendment. However, what is wrong is the overtly disrespectful undertones of the conservative voice. I think a big part of the problem is the failure of the right to accept Obama as our leader. Rather than help our leader with dissent, the right try to destory our leader because they think they can do better. Frankly, I think that's unpatriotic.

September 9, 2009 at 4:10 AM
ben said... just conducted a national study with 400 viewers of President Barack Obama’s speech yesterday in which he addressed U.S. students on the importance of education. Results showed that the majority of all political parties indicated that the speech was effective. The study also found that Democrats and Independents reported that ‘inspired’ was the emotion they felt most while viewing the speech, compared to Republicans who reported feeling ‘skeptical,’ while viewing the speech. More in-depth results can be viewed at

September 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM


You're right! Irrelevant was what you said. I think we've diverged a bit from the topic of my post, but we are long overdue for a discussion. Maybe you can knock some sense into me. If anyone can, it's you.

It is always a supreme pleasure to have a discussion with you, because you are amazingly down to earth and I've finally caught something in your writing that didn't really hit home with me until now. I think you look at things from the company standpoint, right? Let's implement the best idea for the entire strategy?

If you don't mind, I'd like to answer least a little bit in my post today. You have a way of involking long responses and discussions. After a page to reply I said to myself, "my reply is it's own post."

September 10, 2009 at 8:48 AM

hi there!..Who are the crazies out there?..well we sure know the answer to that my friend!

September 11, 2009 at 2:03 PM

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