Presidents in Schools

Nails it.

If the baggers had their way, it would be the end of presidents reading to children.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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22 Responses to Presidents in Schools

  1. On the other hand, I can recount the vast numbers from the Loyal Political Opposition who took the previous president to task for ‘reading to the kids’ when he ‘shoulda been doin’ something else during 9/11/03. Go figure.

    As for me, I’m holding fast to my original plan of not discussing publicly anything that the current president is doing or saying until he has at least been a year in office.

    Of course, that won’t be keeping me from discussing the various hypocrisies of his followers, or the several boneheadednesses (is that even a word?) of the policies promulgated by his cronies.

  2. Michael says:

    No, the objection was to him sitting there like an idiot doing nothing for quite a long time after he’d been told the US had been attacked.

  3. Oh, I’m so relieved. I thought that it was just a bunch of people from the left nattering at a right wing president. Thank you for your correction.

    Of course, it couldn’t be that in this case, the rightwingers have taken a page from the left, and are starting to do to our current president what the left did to the previous one. I’m so very relieved.

  4. Todd says:

    Actually, I think the level of rancor against this president is significantly higher than it was for the former one. I believe it was Archbishop Chaput who recently observed that the Right is far more uncharitable, if not foamy, than the Left.

    That said, there were never any serious objections when Mr Reagan or Mr Bush (I) addressed school students.

    As for Michael’s comment, the actions of the president were indeed rather unusual on that day in 2001. I got the impression he and his administration were totally unprepared. Unfortunately, their lack of preparation wasn’t remedied before Katrina. I have no reason to think a terrorist attack would have garnered any better response.

  5. Actually, I think the level of rancor against this president is significantly higher than it was for the former one.

    Yeah, right, Todd. Tell me another one.

    From where I’m standing, it looks more like a case of whose ox is getting gored.

    I personally think the following is a better presentation of what is going on. But what do I know:

  6. Todd says:

    “Yeah, right, Todd. Tell me another one.”


    The Secret Service has reported a fourfold increase in tracked threats against the president over the past year. That’s an interesting stat in light of the low approval ratings of the previous president, and given that the new one hasn’t really done much yet.

    No, my friend, I think it’s a slam dunk to hang this one on the conservative extremists. As an avowed independent with a distrust of both major parties, I can’t say I have an ox in my field on this one.

  7. There were objections to Bush, but it was about the cost of doing the broadcast, not whether or not a president should give one.

  8. Michael says:

    Bernard, where you stand is distorting what you see, as it does for all of us. That said, the racism, threats, and sheer lunacy directed at President Obama from the right are significantly worse than anything directed at President Bush the second. It is objectively true, and if you deny it, you are in service to a lie.

  9. Liam says:

    Equivalency is a perception bias inherent in dichotomies.

  10. Lee says:

    “I think it’s a slam dunk to hang this one on the conservative extremists”

    Or rather on racists, conservative or otherwise.

  11. Gerry says:

    Thank you for proving to be such a moron that you have to use a silly sexual slang term to describe people who are simply smarter than you.

  12. Chris from Maryland says:

    Michael & Todd:

    There are many good reasons why Catholics should not entrust their children to Mr. Obama’s manipulation.

    President Obama was a faithful member of a Black Liberation church for 20 years, and a close friend of the Pastor. Black Liberation theology is a racist and hateful ideology, as Barack Obama gave evidence of when he publicly rejected that Church in the middle of his campaign for President. The Catholic Church opposes Liberation Theology as un-Christian.

    As President Obama stated, he is “irreconcilably opposed” to the fundamental right to life that the three of us all presumably claim we defend as Catholics.

    Barack Obama’s close political associates are avowed Socialists (e.g., Van Jones and Carol Browner)…meaning they are enemies of the principles in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    Racism, abortion-think and socialism, among others, are 3 reasons that American Catholics would not trust President Obama to address their children. Add a 4th issue – self-absorption – which also drives home socialism issue…it is reported that Mr. Obama’s speech originally contained language about “how the children could help President Obama.” A Russian guy on the radio laughed and said this is what the Soviets did when he was a kid in Russia.

    Keep Obama away from our kids.

  13. Todd says:

    Chris, it’s a wide and generous Catholic Church we share to be so far apart on so many matters.

    While I’m not up to speed on the particular relationship between Mr Obama’s former Chicago church and the Catholic brand of liberation theology, you are simply incorrect that Liberation Theology is inherently un-Christian. I doubt that the president will espouse the values of LT in any public way as president.

    Ditto his stance on what amounts to a GOP-engineered pro-choice stance.

    I think you show a lack of any nuance with your statements on socialism, an economic theory. There is nothing in the Constitution on socialism. Would you be able to produce a concept within the DofI or the Constitution that the president opposes?

    And while I certainly share with you a deep concern over the problem of abortion, it has been affirmed as a constitutional right. XIV refers to “born” persons, unfortunately for all.

    As for disliking or not trusting American presidents, I’m with you on the two prior to Mr Obama. Yet, dislike is not a strong enough reason to oppose a president sending a simple and important message to American school children.

    The Soviets did a lot of things in Russia. They waited in line for food; does that mean that people lined up to get the latest video game or HP movie are socialists? Ronald Reagan also addressed school kids; was he a closet Communist?

    No, my take on this is that opposition to Mr Obama’s address is a loser’s issue. You mention Catholicism, and I remind you this matter is one of prudential judgment. In fact, it is more likely to be interpreted from Church teaching that the encouragement of a secular leader to strive for Christian values of commitment, work, and knowledge is a good thing.

  14. Todd says:

    “Keep Obama away from our kids.”

    Good thing this isn’t a conservative web site. The conservative response on this would be to suggest you go to Canada, or at minimum, send your kids there.

  15. Chris B from Maryland says:


    RE: “it’s a wide and generous Catholic Church we share to be so far apart on so many matters.”

    This seems the opposite of what Jesus teaches us. Jesus does not teach us that the way is wide and generous on matters of serious morality, like defending human life.

    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

    And on lesser political matters, socialism is the enemy of subsidiarity, without which the church in the modern state is smothered and persecuted.

    In Christus Veritas – Chris

  16. Todd says:

    Chris, and yet you seem to be implying there’s quite a broad way for believers. It is proper to be insulting, hypercritical, sullen, and rude, if one’s message is right.

    And as for the notion of a political leader speaking to children, that’s not a moral issue, but a political one.

    And again, socialism is not a political construct, but an economic one.

    By all means, continue to advocate your views, but I would urge you to a tighter logic, if for nothing else, the sake of a good contrary position.

  17. Tony says:

    As an avowed independent with a distrust of both major parties, I can’t say I have an ox in my field on this one.

    You’re as “independent” as I am, Todd. :)

  18. All right, Todd, the gloves come off, and I will address the real reason that I have expressed such animus in this set of comments.

    That can be found in your sentence: If the baggers had their way, it would be the end of presidents reading to children.

    I can only assume that you are referring to the practice, I believe started by Janine Garafalo, of referring to those oppose the current administration’s reforms as “teabaggers”.

    Do you know what the word means? I invite you to read the following:

    You are following the example of many in your party of accusing your opponents of a sexual practice which many of them consider unnatural, and many more consider disgusting and offensive.

    I seem to recall that one definition of slander per se is the false accusation of another of an unnatural or disgusting sexual practice.

    In short, you are slandering those with whom you disagree.

    And you are claiming that the rancor on the Right is greater than it has ever been?

    All of this is unworthy of you, Todd. It is hypocritical, and it is unChristian. Perhaps you should re-read Matthew 5:22.

    Would you be proud to have and know what you are saying here?

  19. Todd says:

    Well, okay.

    I’ve seen quite a number of references about teabags. I have to confess I was unfamiliar with the slang use you cite. When Gerry posted her comment, I looked up slang versions of “bagger” and found nothing offensive. So I just wrote her comment off as a misunderstanding.

    I see now that it was I who misunderstood, so I offer you and her my unconditional apology for my ignorance. Usually I get an e-mail aside from Liam or someone who persuades me to good sense in this situation, and having received nothing, I just went along my merry way.

    So I certainly agree with you that even the shortened term is crude; therefore I withdraw the comment. Do you prefer me to edit the post or leave it as a warning to others similarly ignorant as I?

    And yes, for the record, the rancor on the Right still far outstrips that of the Left.

    As for the web sites you mention, I doubt the first cares very much about specifics of what I say. But thank you, Bernard, for the comment.

  20. Liam says:

    I actually thought “baggers” was a euphemism specifically designed to avoid the older slang understanding of teabagging as compared to this year’s understanding. Seemed rather gracious to me, and Bernard’s reaction seems, well, overwrought. And, as Todd knows, I don’t hesitate to call him out on his snarky moments.

  21. Todd says:

    Liam gives me too much credit, I think. I did some fact-checking on the expression, though. I was dismayed about the unintended insult. It turns out that it was the protesters themselves who early on (through ignorance or not) used the crude term in reference to the president t—-g him/his town hall meetings before he t—-gs you.

    Janeane Garofalo has her moments as an actor and comic, but I don’t think she invented the term.

  22. Dear Todd:

    I am both happy and glad to see that you were ignorant of the term in question. Your apology is most certainly accepted. I do not agree with the practice of deleting comments or original entries without need. I think it better to leave the whole thing up as a caution to all.

    As regards whether the Right outstrips the Left in rancor, we will just have to agree to disagree. Since the Left has demonstrated itself to be far more apt to use insults and slanders like the one in question, I will hold to my own position on the matter.

    Regardless, we both of us have the responsibility to act decently to one another. This comment of yours was blessedly decent. I shall do my best to follow your good example.

    Liam and Michael:

    I have read your comments as regards ‘distorting reality’ and being ‘overwrought’. Considering the nature and extent of the slander in question, my response is that once said by the Mothers of Invention:

    B.S., honey.

    P.S. While I wouldn’t change a word of this entry, Todd, I might suggest that you replace the picture on your entry of September 8th with something less controversial than a bunch of teabags. Just a thought.

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