HYPOCRISY WATCH…. Perhaps no one did more this week to push the mind-numbing “controversy” about President Obama encouraging young people to do well in school more than Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
It was Greer who, in a striking tantrum, issued a statement condemning the president for, among other things, trying to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.” He added that Obama “has turned to American’s children to spread his liberal lies.” Greer’s hysterical press release said the very idea of a political figure taking a political message to school children is “infuriating” and “an invasive abuse of power.”
Obviously, for sane people, the claim itself is ridiculous. What we didn’t know at the time was that it was also remarkably hypocritical. The Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell had an important column today.
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.”
Greer argued on Thursday, “Before anybody talks to my children from a political perspective, I want to know what they have to say.” Of course, the administration is letting school districts know exactly what the president will say the day before his remarks. And how about Greer? Did he run his pro-Republican message by parents and school officials before he talked to school kids?
“That was different,” Greer said.
Actually, it’s not. The president of the United States wants to encourage children to work hard and do well in school. This caused Greer to have some kind of breakdown and accuse Obama of “indoctrination.” But it’s Greer who’s taken partisan messages directly to school classrooms.
The Orlando Sentinel‘s Maxwell followed up on this with a sensible next step.
…I ran Greer’s extremist statement by four high-profile Republicans: Gov. Charlie Crist, U.S. Rep. John Mica, State House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon and Orange County GOP leader Lew Oliver.
I chose conservative leaders whose positions I respect. And Crist, too.
I just wanted to see whether a single one had the guts to call Greer out and take a stand for mainstream values and rational debate.
Not a one of them did. And that is even scarier.
I don’t doubt that grown-ups will one day help run the Republican Party. I just wish that day would hurry up.