A regular feature of the conservative noise machine is the weekly faux outrage. What makes it false is that given a few days to do some research it is usually found that when a conservative did the same thing or something very similar, the rabid right’s response was either to praise the behavior – behavior that could be classified as either bizarre, unethical or illegal – or ignore the glaring hypocrisy. Flashback: Students Sang Bush’s Praises Too (And For Katrina Response!).
But on Friday it boiled over into the realm of political opportunism when the Republican National Committee sent out a fundraising appeal calling the episode an “indoctrination of our nations… children” and “fanaticism.”
“Friend,” RNC Chairman Michael Steele wrote, “this is the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin’s Russia or Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. I never thought the day would come when I’d see it here in America.”
The Chairman of the Republican takes what one teacher did ( who certainly used poor judgment in those lyrics) and extends that poor judgment to the President. Steele’s distortion and exploitation is what feeds the ideological agenda of the conservative movement. When the story of the New Jersey children’s song lyrics broke Fox put up a very different story then the one they took down, the one with reports of death threats against school officials. Fox also edited out the remarks of one parent. Fox News altered ‘Obama praise’ story to exclude ‘death threats’.
The story also appears to be significantly shortened and comments by one of the kids’ mothers, who took an opinion contrary to others expressing outrage, were deleted outright. Paragraphs nine through 11 in the first published version read:
But Andrea Ciemnolonski, the parent of another one of the students in the video, said the song was part of a second-grade project on a variety of topics related to the month of February, such as Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day.
“They did songs about President Washington, Lincoln, and they did do one about President Obama,” Ciemnolonski said. “My daughter was in the class that did the songs about Obama. It was black history month. … It was something for the kids to celebrate.”
The lyrics of the final song the kid’s used was more a celebration of the historical significance of electing the first Black president.
Obama is the President!
First African America in history
44th president of the United States
The ground has shifted
The world has changed!
Oooo Im a proud American
Oooo yes yes yes yes YES WE CAN!
Im going to study really hard just like Barack
Learning never ever stops
Gonna set my goals HIGH and graduate
You might be looking at the President of 2048!
We are a nation of a thousand colors, look at me
Our strength is our diversity
Walking hand in hand we sing
Each a day a little closer to the dream of Dr. King
Fairly innocent stuff. For better or worse the kind of elementary school glossing of history and all presidents that has become the standard. Raygun Ronnie speaking directly to school kids was doing OK, sounding a lot like President Obama in telling kids to work hard, have goals etc then went off on a weird digression about tax cuts,
PRESIDENT REAGAN: I do. That’s a big argument that’s going on in government and I definitely believe it is because one of the principle reasons that we were able to get the economy back on track and create those new jobs and all was we cut the taxes, we reduced them. Because you see, the taxes can be such a penalty on people that there’s no incentive for them to prosper and to earn more and so forth because they have to give so much to the government. And what we have found is that at the lower rates the government gets more revenue, there are more people paying taxes because there are more people with jobs and there are more people willing to earn more money because they get to keep a bigger share of it, so today, we’re getting more revenue at the lower rates than we were at the higher. And do you know something? I studied economics in college when I was young and I learned there about a man named Ibn Khaldun, who lived 1200 years ago in Egypt. And 1200 years ago he said, in the beginning of the empire, the rates were low, the tax rates were low, but the revenue was great. He said in the end of empire, when the empire was collapsing, the rates were great and the revenue was low.
Reagan actually increased taxes. He lied to those kids when he claimed supply-side (“voodoo economics”) would create so much growth in GDP they would pay for themselves. Now that’s indoctrination and indoctrination is OK when conservatives do it..
I was reading this post at Newshoggers about neocon Michael Ledeen’s latest diatribe at National Review and its the usual logic impoverished crap that the Right’s “intellectuals” have become notorious for, it reminded me of something. Ledeen writes,
Is Obama Naïve?
….There is nothing unusual about elitist hatred of freedom. Back in the 18th century, when book publishing really got going, British authors were infuriated that they had to submit to the judgment of a marketplace. They didn’t want to be judged by people who were obviously inferior to them, and there was a great rage among the intelligentsia, including some very famous men. And in modern times, we can all name famous intellectuals who fawned all over Mussolini, Stalin, Fidel, and even Hitler.
Ledeen should have left out the histrionic comparisons between our sometimes maddeningly centrist bend over backwards try and please everyone president and some of history’s worse tyrants. They reminded me that Ledeen is a fan of Italian fascism, Neocons plagiarize Italian Fascists
What Leeden(Sp.)did was not copy Marinetti word for word, but rather he stole his ideas and passed them off as his own (My add – Leeden’s book is called “The War Against the Terror Masters”) , without ever crediting the source. Now this is not the first or the last time that some bit of fascist ideology will be resurrected and passed off as new. What makes this instance frightening are two things, the sector of fascist ideology being recycled and the recycler, a man with a great deal of influence in American foreign policy.
F.T. Marinetti helped Mussolini found the Fascist Party and is perhaps most famous for his love and glorification of violence and war. Marinetti wrote eloquently and convincingly about the beauty of violence and death. He wanted perpetual war and believed that only through continuous violent destruction could society move forward. Marinetti wrote:
We will glorify war- the world’s only hygiene- militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman. We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, we will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
Leeden has repackaged Marinetti’s ideals into a theory he calls “Creative Destruction.” Like Marinetti, Leeden believes that only through violent action can society progress.
Liberals have historically been demonized by the far right and the far left. Obama may have a a few actual liberals in his administration, but so far he is not shown that he is a liberal. Ledeen, like the Beckian tea baggers think that Obama is a liberal because their ideological alliances are so extreme that anyone closer to the center then Marinetti is a threat to their bizarre dystopian ideals for the United States.
Whether its isolated incidents of well meaning, but misguided teachers or historical comparisons and utterly unsubstantiated similarities, the modern Republican party is the party of shrill hypocrites.