Education, Coarsely

GOP School Talk Response

Copyright 2009 Ben S. Pollock

DATELINE MIRTHOLOGY — Republicans are grateful that Barack Obama released a transcript early for his speech today to American schoolchildren. Rather than responding to what he might say — as they usually do in drafting responses to the weekly presidential radio address and the yearly State of the Union, and perhaps missing by a mile — now the GOP can counter point by point in the opponents’ traditional follow-up.

Children who might miss the president’s speech because school district administrators fear parental complaints, now can view the best of both: Obama then Palin, or Obama then Limbaugh or Cheney or McCain or whomever the Grand Old Party suits up for the camera this morning. In the case of educators who planned alternatives to live viewing, like posting a link to the speech video on district Web sites or airing on community access cable stations, now they can add the rebuttal.

While the president’s complete text can be found at, the Republican National Committee has not uploaded it yet. Fortunately, Brick was availed of a copy left on a bench near the Confederate statue at the downtown Bentonville Square.

Want a peek? Here are some excerpts. To help guide responsible parties, the conservative speech will be preceded by portions of Obama’s.

The President: “Hello everyone — how’s everybody doing today?”

Counterpoint: Punk, you over there! Tuck in that shirt!

Prez: “When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school.”

Counter: As a little boy, Barack Obama didn’t live in the United States. He lived in the far East. Indonesia is next to communist Vietnam (points to map on easel), and Indonesia has more Muslims than any other nation. Just like we’ve been trying to tell people.

Prez: “At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.”

Counter: Sure, listen to your parents. But some grandparents, you must watch out for. Phone Homeland Security if teachers start “forgetting” to have you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or “accidentally” drop the “under God” part. Or call in to talk radio and identify them. You’ll need their first name. It’s not Miss or Mister.

Prez: “Maybe you could be a good writer … but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor — maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine. … Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice.”

Counter: The only writing you need to do is to sign checks to conservative candidates. We don’t need vaccines or the wrong kind of justices. It’s not mush from some Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” No, heed our slogan: Your country will tell you what you can do for it.

Prez: “You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment.”

Counter: AIDS is a topic for grown-ups; besides, we have it in hand. Nothing is wrong with the environment. We do need scientists to come up with cheesier pizzas and sweeter cereals. Wouldn’t that be a fun job?

Prez: “At the end of the day, the circumstances of your life — what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home — that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.”

Counter: Hard work is very important, and making excuses just gets you in deeper. But there is an exception. The only allowable excuse is to blame the president. It works for us.

Prez: “Sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. But the truth is, being successful is hard.”

Counter: If you don’t choose your parents well, you’re sunk. We could use some more good ball players, though. If you don’t make it to the pros, don’t worry, there’s a lot of jobs around, especially if we manage to stop immigration.

Prez: “J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published.”

Counter: Harry Potter got lucky on the 13th try? Proof of Satan!

Prez: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”

Counter: If you ask too many questions, you’re a troublemaker. We put troublemakers in jail. You know what happens there? Besides, asking for help is for babies. Grow up!

Prez: “God bless you, and God bless America.”

Counter: What he said.

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