Sunday, September 06, 2009

Jim Greer in a Nutshell

I spent a little time researching Florida GOP chairman, Jim Greer's complains and background. What I found is something that is quite different from the controversy that is being played out in the Main Stream Media. That is, the media has fallen for the bait - a series of absurd and unsubstantiated allegations about President Obama's address to school-children on Tuesday.

By taking Greer's charges at face value, the national media has been duplicitous in aiding and abetting in a GOP campaign to push the buttons of the most fragile sociopaths in America. Some of these people are parents as well as myopic paranoids. By the time the "controversy" has been identified as a lesson plan line item contributed by a teacher to the Department of Education as a suggested classroom topic, the broader lynch mob had saddled up and were in full gallop.

A Marc Murphy editorial cartoon perfectly captured the debate:

I'm with Stupid cartoon

It is Barack Obama's turn to offer America's schoolchildren a Horatio Alger meme to live by.

So, it came as a shock to the Obama administration that they would be attacked on this front given the severity of the wars, healthcare reform, and the economy. In fact it came as a low blow primarily because it was an attempt to pre-empt Obama altogether as if he were not the President and as if he were a messenger rather than an author. And it came as a low blow because Obama's education policy is a rehash and escalation of the same old Bush policies that have produced a thirty percent dropout rate from American high schools.

A clue to the mystery of this sneak attack reveals that it was politically pre-meditated and wholly disingenuous. An anonymous poster to a Florida newspaper covering this story discovered a subtle political plagarism:
Anonymous said:
Two quotes complaining about the President giving the speech to schoolchildren: "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," . . .."And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'" And a second quotation, referring to the speech to school children as: "the arrogance of power," and that the White House should not be "using precious dollars for campaigns" when "we are struggling for every silly dime we can get" for education. The first quote is atributable to Rep. Richard Gephardt, then the Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives. The second is from Patricia Schroeder, then a Democratic member of Congress from Colorado. Both were made as part of a Democratic complaint against President George HW Bush speaking to schoolchildren in 1991. How positively hypocritical huh? Funny and humorous to say the least.
posted on: 9/5/2009 8:27:36 PM

The problem is that Greer never acknowledges that he's throwing the words of Gephardt and Schroeder into the faces of an unsuspecting media, nation, and political base. In a single act of political bloodsport, Greer makes a fool of the media by brazenly manipulating and humiliating the commentators like Anderson Cooper, Chris Matthews, and even Fox News.

And how must the Republican base feel as he uses them as unwitting rubes repeating Democratic objections to a Republican presentation over a decade ago? Nor does Greer ever demonstrate the intellectual capacity to have authored this language. This was scripted with outside assistance.

In other words, the Obama administration was sucker punched with the unwitting aid of a MSM that craves these petty political food fights. And American schoolchildren are dragged into it as window-dressing and sympathetic "victims".

You might be wondering why Gephardt and Schroeder objected to Bush's speech. The Palm Beach Post blog documents Reagan and Bush's act:
By all accounts nobody called Bush a socialist or organized a boycott, and The Associated Press’s coverage of the speech appeared to be a neutral description of what the president had said, according to a Nexis search.

On the other hand, a story the next day in The Washington Post dwelt on the theme that the speech had been arranged in such a way to make the president look good:

The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props yesterday as President Bush delivered a live television address to America’s schoolchildren, the latest administration effort to demonstrate the president’s interest in domestic issues.

The administration had even more control over the highly telegenic speech — carried live from Alice Deal Junior High School by Public Broadcasting Service and Cable News Network — than it does over most presidential events.

Unlike most presidential addresses, such as last Friday’s arms control speech from the Oval Office, yesterday’s was handled not by the television networks but by a private firm paid by the U.S. Department of Education, administration officials said. The White House selected the camera angles and decided which pictures would be sent out, officials said.

The students in Cynthia Mostoller’s eighth-grade American history class said they were advised to wear soft-soled shoes so they did not make too much noise. They were told to pay attention to the president as he perched on a stool in front of Room 112’s blackboard, not the teleprompters in the back of the room from which he read his text.


Greer is a piece of work. But the story doesn't end there.

Greer himself has addressed school children and he did so mercilessly. Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel gives us a whiff of Greer's own educational screeds:
There once was a political operative who loved to tell crowds he had a simple way of explaining to children the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

"Republicans get up and go to work," he would tell his son. "Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks."

This man not only talked to his son about Republican values, he went into public-school classrooms and talked about them as well.

That man is Jim Greer — the same Jim Greer who, as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, just threw a nationwide hissy fit, claiming that the classroom is no place for politics and Barack Obama's "indoctrination."

One Seminole County mother, Barbara Wells, remembers the day Greer spoke to her son's sixth-grade class. "My son said he made some sort of Hillary Clinton joke," she recalled.

But you know what? Wells didn't pitch a fit.

She didn't call up the local TV station to scream about Republican indoctrination.

Instead, she advised her son: "Whatever you are told in life, remember there are two sides to every story."

In fact, Wells didn't even think much about Greer's foray into her son's classroom until she saw him on TV complaining about Obama.

There's no longer any question: Greer is a hypocrite.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether mainstream Republicans in Florida will allow him to drag them deeper into the divisive and irrational fringes of their party.

Mainstream conservatives, after all, are being left behind.

While they want to talk about real issues, like out-of-control spending, they are forced to watch their state "leader" make a buffoon out of himself in the national spotlight. This just two weeks after a former House speaker was allowed to rack up $170,000 in GOP credit-card bills on Greer's watch.

This country needs a healthy two-party system with smart debate.

But there's nothing healthy or smart about Greer's claim that the president's pep talk about succeeding in school was really an attempt to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

Presidents have been talking to schoolchildren ever since we've had schools.

Now, what about that GOP credit card debt? The debt that Greer likes to dismiss as no big deal - that debt. Let's just call it junket debt.

Well, that debt may have to do with GOP presidential campaign spending habits. In an article in the Miami Herald's NakedPolitics called, No room on the Palin plane, Greer charters his own, we get some insight into Greer's relationship with the Palin -cough- team.
Determined not to be left out of the party, RPOF Chairman Jim Greer flew a chartered plane to Sarah Palin's events in Clearwater and Southwest Florida today.
You see, Greer first realized that the Katie Couric interviews were political poison.
Greer told the NYT that: “I think the Katie Couric interview shows that she needs to be briefed more on certain aspects. She continues to be viewed very positively by the base of the party, but she needs to demonstrate that she’s got the knowledge and ability to be president should the need arise.”

Flash forward to a hockey arena in Estero, Florida, near Naples, where Greer just finished speaking to the crowd gathered to see Palin and he's now singing the praises of the Alaska governor. He called her "dynamic'' and said she understands what working Americans are going through "She makes more decisions in one day than Sens Obama and Biden make in a whole year."

RPOF spokesman Erin VanSickle doesn't want us making too much of this. "Lots of folks understandably want to travel with Governor Palin, and Chairman Greer is participating in her Florida events as part of the pre-program,'' VanSickle responded to an email.
Greer was treated like a leper by McCain and Palin and learned his lesson. A costly lesson for GOP donors but a lesson nonetheless.

On the day Sarah palin became dynamic day, the Republicans had a new spokesperson willing to say anything to ride with the big boys. Is it surprising that such a willing student would not be chosen for this act of political cowardice?

I'm not shocked.

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