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Photoshop: Leo Alberti
Tunku Varadarajan is a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School, fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and executive editor for opinions at Forbes.
He thinks I am a “kook” and “crazy” for criticizing President Obama’s education event tomorrow.
Tellingly, he does not address the actual substance of my arguments. But he packs in plenty of ad hominems:
Too Many Kooks
Tunku Varadarajan, 09.07.09, 12:00 AM EDT
Obama’s school speech drives the right crazy.
The Silly Season ceases to be “silly” when what passes for political debate in America turns not merely stupid or witless, but certifiably demented.
I write of the kooky reaction of many conservatives–politicians, citizens and commentators in the media–to the plan by President Obama to address the nation’s schoolchildren tomorrow.
Obama will, as we all know, address our kids–plenty of whom need a lesson or two on the subject, since they clearly don’t get it from their parents–on the virtues of study, education and hard work. According to a White House spokesman, the aim of the speech is “to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, [and] doing their homework …” If anyone thinks that’s unpalatable, subversive, Commie and un-American, I’d like to meet for a duel at dawn by the skating rink at New York’s Central Park. (Pick your weapon, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck …)
Obama’s original “lesson plan” had been to ask students auditing him to write letters to themselves outlining ways in which they could “help the president.” This seemingly earnest proposal provoked a reaction so vitriolic from sections on the political right that I began to wonder whether I was missing a point–to wonder, in fact, that I, as a recent immigrant to this country, had failed to integrate well enough to grasp the nuances of American political debate.
Yes, you missed the point.
It’s not the speech (as I pointed out last week), it’s the subtext.
It’s the radical activism of the White House Teaching Fellows who designed the education guides tied to Obama’s speech.
It’s the overzealousness of public school educators who have turned classrooms into Obama campaign offices.
It’s the influence of the left-wing social justice crusaders of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge on Team Obama.
It’s the Left’s embrace of Obama Chicago pal Bill Ayers’ pedagogical philosophy of “education as the motor-force of revolution.”
It’s the activist tradition of government schools using students as junior lobbyists to pressure legislators for higher education spending, pro-illegal immigration protests, gay marriage, environmental propaganda, and anti-war causes.
Now, who are you calling “kook?”
Update: Speech text released. It’s not about Obama…except, of course, that it is.
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