The right wing’s reaction to President Obama’s planned back to school speech has brought about criticism from mainstream Republicans. Today Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Sen. Lamar Alexander all went on the Sunday talk shows and supported the idea that the president should be allowed to speak to school children.
On Meet the Press, Giuliani talked about the loss of respect for the institution of the presidency, “But the difference is we looked at President Eisenhower or President Reagan, even up to about that point, even President Bush 41 differently. There’s a lack of respect for the president, there’s a lack of respect for politicians. And David Axelrod said, “Well, this isn’t politics.” Everything the president does nowadays is politics, for better or worse. And I think that’s what you’re seeing. You’re seeing people distrust the president’s motives or the administration’s motives. It’s not just about the speech, it’s about the lesson plan. I think it’s unfortunate and I think, you know, what’s the–it almost seems a shame to say what’s the harm in a president speaking to a group of children. I think, I think the president should be given the opportunity to do it.”
Here is video of Gingrich and Alexander on Fox News Sunday from Think Progress:
Gingrich said, “My daughter Jackie Cushman just wrote a column in which she said, “if the president gives a speech as a parent to students to encourage them to learn and stay in school, it is a great thing for him to do.” It was a good thing for Ronald Reagan to do. It was a good thing for George H. W. Bush to do.”
He continued, “And I’ve been communicating with Arne Duncan and the team at the Department of Education. I believe this is going to be posted, people are going to be able to see it in advance, it’s going to be a totally positive speech, and if that’s what it is, then it is good to have the president of the United States say to young people across America: Stay in school, study and do your homework. It’s good for you and it’s good for America.”
Alexander said, “Of course the president of the United States should be able to address students and of course parents and teachers should decide in what context.” This is yet another issue that demonstrates the fracture in the Republican Party between the grass roots right wing, and the more mainstream Republicans.
When even usually reliable fringe winger talk show host Neal Boortz claims that even he doesn’t get the paranoia and panic over Obama’s speech, it is clear that fringe has gone too far. The fear over President Obama speech is completely unreasonable and unjustified. Unfortunately, the calm reasonable voices are getting drowned out by the paranoia of white conservatives who still angry that Obama won the election.