Harry Golden Goes to School

The Harry Golden Rule (from Calvin Trillin by way of Barnie Day) holds that “In present-day America it’s very difficult, when commenting on events of the day, to invent something so bizarre that it might not actually come to pass while your piece is still on the presses.”

So it is with the President’s planned speech at Wakefield High School next Tuesday. In case you have been in an isolation chamber, the news that the President of the United States was going to address students on (gasp) the notion of studying hard and doing well in school has suddenly got the Right Wing in a lather.

“Unprecedented,” they rail.

Well, not exactly. The last three Republican presidents have all made national, televised speeches to students. President George H.W. Bush addressed students on the issue of drug abuse. The New York Times reported that more than 15,000 superintendents were notified of the speech by the Education Department.

When some Democrats criticized the President, Newt Gingrich wondered, “Why is it political for the President of the United States to discuss education?”

It’s not often that you’ll find me agreeing with Newt Gingrich. But he was right. Adult role models, and the President of the United States is certainly one, should tell kids not to do drugs. And they should also tell them to stay in school and study hard.

UPDATE: Now the Wall Street Journal agrees with this position. “Obama is not ‘incoctrinating’ children,” they opine.

4 thoughts on “Harry Golden Goes to School”

  1. I hate it when ideologues manufacture things to talk about…we’ve got more than enough worries without having to make things up.

    Pretty cool that the president is taking time to talk directly with students about *gasp* personal responsibility.

    Now, if we can just get that words to match deeds thing going… :)

  2. This, I think, is exactly where the conservative counterrevolution, or whatever you want to call it, jumped the shark.
    I work in a building that has a lot of political “civilians”, the advertsing, accounting and clerical folks. They are the folks who are your “undecided voters” well into October, because they don’t pay attention before then. They are’t ideologues of either side. And none of them understand why parents wouldn’t want their kids to hear a speech from the president of the United States.

  3. And it was a darn good speech, IMHO. My whole office stopped to watch it (well, we are an education think tank).but we’d never have done that without the flap. Wonder how many others tuned in.

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