President’s speech stayed in safe zone

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Newt Gingrich approved of the speech. That’s fair praise from a conservative who has plenty of criticism for President Barack Obama.

Yet, on Tuesday, Gingrich was quoted as defended the president’s controversial speech to school children across America, going so far as urging all students to read the text of the speech delivered on Tuesday.

“It’s a good speech,” Gingrich added. “I recommend it to everybody if you have any doubts. I would love to have every child in America read it, think about it, and learn that they should stay in school and they should study.”

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Gingrich’s remarks are a calm, fair voice in the partisan politics that gripped the nation before the President’s speech. In the day’s leading up to the speech, nervous parents fueled by conservative groups worried that the President would use the forum of speaking directly to school children to spread his political platform, a concern given credibility by the White House’s bungling of the situation and development of lesson plans to help children think about “what I can do to help the president.”

Instead, the president urged children to stay in school; to find something at which they excel; and to realize that while they might not like every teacher or every subject, they need to stay focused on the long-term goal of getting a good education.

That’s good advice, no matter which side of the aisle you occupy.

Now, if the President could simply find middle ground and avoid the political partisanship in his work with Congress to develop a national health care plan, we could teach our school children a real-life lesson about the effectiveness of democracy.