I belong to a wonderful — indeed, scintillating — email group. Today, the group has been having a healthy debate about comparing Obama’s latest decision to talk directly to children (no parents necessary) to Hitler’s deliberate plan to wean a generation away from its parents and into the Nazi party. My current position is that we’re not at that stage yet.
Obama has done nothing but talk all summer. He’s had more press conferences than any president in history. Not just that, his primary claim to fame was his marvelous ability to communicate. And what’s happened? People are turning against him in droves and turning even more strongly against his initiatives. I think he’s just trying to stroke his ego by speaking to the only audience still impressed by him — or, at least, impressed by the office he represents. I will continue to monitor the situation closely, though, and I certainly won’t get complacent.
But back to that email debate. A by-product of every debate is a slew of good posts. The one on which I want to focus is Bruce Kesler’s post at Maggie’s Farm, in which Bruce argues strongly that Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding his commitment to education and that he definitely shouldn’t be compared to Hitler. (You’ll find Bruce’s own words here.) I’m not as convinced as Bruce is about Obama’s pure motives, simply because, as Melissa Clouthier points out, he’s never had pure motives before. I’m not finding him guilty; I’m just reserving judgment. [Bruce wrote me that he's not convinced about Obama's pure motives but, instead, prefers "trust, but verify." That's cool.]
I’m not the only one who is suspicious about Obama’s motives, however. As one of Bruce’s commenters said (#4):
Obladioblada is right on with his litany of events that make us wary of this President. When we called our schools at 8:00 this morning they did not even know what we were asking about. By 3:00 pm they had had a “big meeting” and basically determined that participation in the viewing of the Obamindoctrinaton/pep talk would be voluntary. The schools were swamped with calls of concern. Obviously the Won has created an atmosphere of mistrust in the country. Additionally, the Dept of Education left school administrators out of the loop while they decided what would be on the curriculum for the beginning of the school year. The sentiment we heard from the schools was that teachers just want to teach. They do not want to lead political discussions at the behest of a partisan politician. I think the Dems are seriously overstepping themselves here, and I suspect that this stunt will backfire on them ala the Wellstone affair. (Read Powerline posts on how lame this comes across to the typical high school student)
Though keeping our kids away from school that day may be an option, I am thinking of arming my kids with a copy of the Presidents Oath of Office, a copy of the Constitution, and instructions to ask the following question: Who has greater authority, the President or the Constitution?
Let the teacher lead a discussion on that topic.
That comment got me thinking about the way in which ordinary Americans, not just vigilant blogging conservatives, but “man in the street” kind of people, are becoming deeply worried about Obama. I think that a large part of this sense of unease — a n unease that sees us unable to accept anything he does at face value — occurs because we really don’t know the man. We were sold a great communicator who can’t communicate; a brilliant intellectual who routinely shows his ignorance; a dynamic leader who cannot lead; a master peacemaker who seems to be presiding over an uprising of international evil; a political moderate who is, instead, an extreme Leftist; a post-partisan neo-politician who has engaged in the most partisan politics in recent memory; and, of course, a graceful athlete (remember the rippling pecs?) who can’t throw a baseball.
Bottom line: Americans no longer have any idea who or what is in the White House, and that’s frightening. People may not have liked George Bush, but they knew everything about him. They knew about his Dad, his education, his military service, his wild days, his business initiatives and his political career. There were no surprises in his world outlook. Even his known “compassionate conservatism” helped explain why he kept spending money in a very unconservative fashion.
The opposite is true with Obama. More and more people realize, as we blogging conservatives did in the beginning, that he is an entirely unknown quantity. Nor is this sudden sense of a stranger in America’s house (that is, the White House) lessened by the fact that the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress is apparently loopy loo, and has turned on ordinary American people. This Bizarro World quality rocks us. At this rate, one of these days we’ll wake up and find the sun rising in the West.
Having said all that, I find myself mostly in Bruce’s corner when it comes to the Hitler comparisons. The problem with such comparisons — even if they happen to be true as to a given statement or initative — is that they don’t go anywhere useful. Mention that “Obama is Hitler” and it creates a storm of passion that overwhelms thought. And we can’t say we don’t know that this happens, because we have before us the evidence of the eight years of the Bush administration.
As young lawyers learn, if you’ve got a good argument, never hurl personal attacks at the opposing party. Your argument will prevail and you’ll walk out with your dignity intact too. What Obama is doing is vis a vis our children is, at the very least, creepy and we should be vigilant. We should arm our children with facts and critical thinking. We should make our voices heard. Given Obama’s overreach, that’s probably enough to do the job and do it well.