Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Overwhelming Majority of Schools to Show Obama's Speech

Shame on TPM for running the headline "More and More Schools Not Showing Obama's Stay-In-School Speech" in an article that, in the second paragraph, concedes "Most schools are doing the sensible thing and allowing parents who object to their kids seeing a speech by that evil socialist dictator to opt out." The article then runs through a whopping nine school districts where at least one principal has decided not to show the speech. As of 2007, there were 14,556 school districts in the US. This calls for a pie chart:

As you can see, unless there are thousands of school districts or tens of thousands of schools that have opted out of the speech, there simply isn't any sort of wide grassroots opposition to Obama's speech.

This is, I think, a failing on major lights of the left-leaning blogosphere, both with the school speech and the health town halls. What I think is happening is that everyone has learned the primary lesson of the late Clinton and Bush years a little too well. That lesson, broadly speaking, is that The Crazy needs to be beaten back. Left ignored, the echo chamber of Drudge, Fox News, and other right-wing partisan outlets will push their views into the mainstream. So, the proper response ought to be to call out The Crazy for what it is—crazy—early and often.

Of late, the way this has been done has been to point and laugh at cranks like Sarah Palin or whichever yahoos are lobbying their principal to not show the Obama speech. Given how August went, I think it's safe to say that strategy hasn't worked terribly well. So it might behoove us to spend a bit more time doing something more than pointing and laughing.


Neil Sinhababu said...

I like the chart!

But how badly did August really go? It was unpleasant, but did it really move poll numbers beyond what you'd expect for another month in a down economy? I imagine we'll see the consequences when the House votes on health care.

Jonathan Bernstein said...

I agree with Neil about August...also, I can report that my kids' school district didn't show the speech (the email home said it was because of time reasons); neither of the two largest districts here in San Antonio showed the speech. FWIW.