One thing that has baffled me about American politics over the last nine months is the growth of the visceral and seething hatred for Barack Obama amongst foaming-at-the-mouth right wingnuts. It really has got quite astonishing and tends to coalesce around the word "socialist". But George Bush in his last seven months of office was twenty times more socialist than Obama has been in his first seven. Remember all that massive, sweeping, epic scale nationalisation old Dubya casually did as he polished up his cowboy boots to return to Texas? After that, it is almost inconceivable that Obama could exceed Bush's "socialism". Even his health plan is emphasising the benefits for the insured, rather than a "universal" plan for the uninsured.
But the latest sort of lightning rod for Obama hatred has been a plan for him to make a rather innocuous Presidential address to schoolkids. He'll be asking kids to work hard, do their homework, not to bunk off school, wash behind their ears...that sort of thing. And oh, it's an optional speech for schools to show to pupils.
But this has sent the wingnuts off into outer space with outrage. One Republican State chair said "the address is nothing more than a dastardly inculcation into socialism and a viral spread of liberal propaganda". A right wing commentator said "the republic is under attack".
There's been talk of the "fascist in chief" and parallels being made to the Hitler Youth - with Pink Floyd's "Leave our kids alone" refrain being brought into the debate.
Jason Links on Huffpo has a very amusing article about this:
Anyway, that's the state of the world today. If President Obama reminded people tomorrow to brush between meals, thousands of people would allow their teeth to rot right out of their heads, because OMGZ TEH SOCIALISM! The upside to all of this is that after Tuesday, every teacher in the world will know precisely what students are going to need remedial help.