Conservative embarrass themselves

EJ Dionne gets it right in his quick-hit column, referring to this as a "shameful day."  The idea that the president of the country speaking to school kids is going to be a "socialist indoctrination" is so absolutely absurd that anybody who suggests such things only shows their extreme and utter ignorance.  Even if Obama wanted to indoctrinate kids with "socialism," can you really do that in one short speech that's got to be pitched for elementary school students. 

 I enjoyed hearing David's reaction.  Once he got over his confusion (he thought "the President of Wake County" was going to speak to them in the gym) he seemed to appreciate the speech and absorb it's message: work hard and stay in school.  Damn socialist.  I'm seriously trying to think of an example where liberals both ordinary and elite have embarrassed themselves to such an absurd degree.  Anyway, EJ Dionne's quick-take today was much harsher than his usual tone, and all the better for it.  He also does a good job pointing out the media complicity in this phony "controversy":

We have just gone through one of the most shameful episodes of the
young Obama presidency — shameful because of the behavior of the right
wing, shameful because the media played into an extremist agenda,
shameful because we proved that our political system has become so
dysfunctional that a president gets punished for doing the right thing.

Upon Barack Obama’s election, even my most conservative friends who
supported John McCain said Obama could do a world of good for poor
children in the country by stressing the importance of education, hard
work, staying in school and taking responsibility. Yes, those are often
thought of as conservative values.

But when Obama proposed to do just that on the first day of school,
the far right — without asking any questions or seeking any
information — decided to pounce, on the theory that everything Obama
did should be attacked relentlessly as part of some secret and
dangerous ideological agenda.

Out popped Jim Greer, the Florida Republican chairman, who accused
the president of trying to “indoctrinate America's children to his
socialist agenda."

In a normal world, the media would have asked Greer for proof of
such a wild charge and, since he didn’t have any, his press release
would have gone into the circular file.

But, no, the media is so petrified of being
criticized for being “liberal” that it chose to take a lunatic charge
seriously and helped gin up this phony controversy.

I'd love to hear some grown-up Republicans repudiate and disavow this nonsense, but, as Florida would seem to indicate, the inmates are running the asylum.

Real health care journalism

If only we saw more articles like this in the Post and less of the obsessively-focused process pieces.  This is a terrific summary of 8 of the key issues in the health care reform debate.  Definitely share with those who are clueless and/or confused.


More from APSA

As long as our news services guru (my good friend Matt Shipman) went to the trouble to write up a nice news release on my own research presented last week, I ought to at least summarize it here.  Since Matt is a professional summarizer and can surely do a much better job than me, here it is in his words:

Parenthood is pushing mothers and fathers in opposite directions on
political issues associated with social welfare, from health care to
education, according to new research from North Carolina State

“Parenthood seems to heighten the political ‘gender gap,’ with women
becoming more liberal and men more conservative when it comes to
government spending on social welfare issues,” says Dr. Steven Greene,
an associate professor of political science at NC State and co-author
of the study. Greene and Dr. Laurel Elder of Hartwick College used data
on the 2008 presidential election from the American National Election
Studies to evaluate the voting behavior of men and women who have
children at home. Parents who have grown children were not part of the

“Basically, women with children in the home were more liberal on
social welfare attitudes, and attitudes about the Iraq War, than women
without children at home,” Greene says, “which is a very different
understanding of the politics of mothers than captured by the ‘Security
Mom’ label popular in much media coverage. But men with kids are more
conservative on social welfare issues than men without kids.” Men with
kids did not differ from men without kids in their attitudes towards

Greene also notes that, “despite media speculation that Sarah Palin,
given her status as a self-proclaimed ‘Hockey Mom’ and working mother
of five, would be effective at attracting the votes and admiration of
parents, especially mothers, the research showed no evidence of a
‘Sarah Palin effect’ (between parents and non-parents), even when
looking exclusively at Republicans.” Greene explains that this means
there was no difference in how parents viewed Sarah Palin versus how
non-parents viewed Sarah Palin.

When I actually finish the book on parenthood (maybe this month, seriously, no really, seriously), I want to play around some more with the Sarah Palin data and see what we come up with. For now, very safe to say there was no "hockey mom" effect."  

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