Yesterday, I ran down the myriad ways that the conservative fringe are agogging and aghasting at the prospect of President Barack Obama speaking to children and encouraging them to do their homework and not drop out of school, which is precisely the way Karl Marx suggested the a proletariat paradise could be achieved. You'd think that a president had never addressed America's children before. And you'd think that no one had ever previously imagined that President Obama might attempt to impart some inspirational advice to America's kids. But, if you thought that, you'd be wrong! In fact, as one emailer reminded me yesterday, at the beginning of August, one prominent media figure openly advocated for Obama to address America's children. That figure? Fox News's Bill O'Reilly.
In the August 9 Parade Magazine, O'Reilly had a column titled "What President Obama Can Teach America's Kids." This being Parade, it is about as anodyne as an opinion column can be. But, leaving that aside, O'Reilly's piece is a thoughtful and sentimental take on how the experiences Obama had lived could translate into lessons that children could benefit from -- things like "forgiveness" and "persistence." One of O'Reilly's suggestions reads as follows:
A child does not go from taking English lessons in Indonesia to editing the Harvard Law Review without doing some tough work. The President earned his present job by performing in school and, later, in his various jobs. He was smart enough to lay a foundation for success. Early on as a kid, he understood the big picture.
"Barack Obama loves his work," Saunders says. "And this is a great example for children. They must understand that work is very important and will ultimately define their lives."
One can't help but notice how neatly this proposal dovetails with the content of Obama's planned Tuesday address, which the White House is making publicly available on Monday. And I'd have to think that O'Reilly would likely defend the idea of Obama making this address, having encouraged it. Unfortunately, when the O'Reilly Factor took up the matter Wednesday night, the show was under the stewardship of Laura Ingraham, who refused to accept any premise other than the most absurd and diabolical, turning loose Monica Crowley to call the planned address "surreal" and "Orwellian." Meanwhile, Alan Colmes registered quiet and unobtrusive objections.