The most interesting thing about Obama's address to the youth of the nation tomorrow (Tuesday Sept. 8) is of course not the speech itself, which will no doubt be a soporific sermon about the importance of staying in school for the full twelve years of punishing boredom. Nor for that matter is it the rather creepy teaching materials propagated by the Dept. of Education (a government bureau that should not exist).
No, as others have pointed out, it is the strength of the public uproar the speech is provoking. Repeatedly, the administration has had to explain, reassure, modify, and generally respond to concerns that it found "silly" (their word). They are utterly mystified about the reasons for the furor.
Well, here I am to explain it.
This is a president who thinks he can switch at will, as suits his purposes, between two profoundly different roles: 1) president of all the people, and 2) head of an ideologically defined mass movement (his word) that is considerably smaller than the entire citizenry.
His attitude is Hey, I'm speaking in the president-of-all-the-people mode now! Can't you tell?
Sorry Mr. President. No can do. You don't have a light in your forehead that signals which mode you are in at the moment. The world does not work that way. You see, what's going to happen is that for some citizens you are stuck in the president mode and that's all they can see. (In some cases this is because they are members of your mass movement. In others, it is sheer blank ignorance.) For others you are stuck in the movement leader mode and that is all they can see.
And some of the latter group don't want this movement leader preaching to their kids. About anything.