Today, First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at a Get-Out-the-Vote and voter registration event that happens to take place at a Miami-area high school — and it’s sent some GOP partisans into high dudgeon.
Mind you, it’s summer. The school facilities are empty. The campaign is paying for the use of the space, not the school distrct. And, as the Miami Herald and the International Business Times have pointed out,
School board attorney Walter Harvey told the Herald that board policy states that any group, including political ones, can apply to lease facilities from the county’s public schools.
Both presidential campaigns frequently use public schools for campaign events. Republican candidate Mitt Romney is holding a town hall meeting Tuesday at Central High School in Grand Junction, Colo.
I’m waiting for the GOPers in Colorado to get off their fainting couches and demand that Mitt Romney exercise his boundaries and quit politicking in schools. Oh, but that’s right, there isn’t a principle applied here evenly across the board in an impartial way, just unreasonable Miami Republican cranks with a nasty wish to demean a perfectly gracious, delightful, warm-hearted First Lady who is using the school property in an approved, 100% legal way. That is, when they aren’t muttering, through tightly pursed little lips (like Senator Mitch McConnell), that the goal is to make President Obama “a one-term president.”
Someone’s nose is all out of joint over President Obama’s imagined transgressions, and we know this because in 2009, right-wing partisans got the notion that President Obama’s continuation of presidential tradition encouraging children to do well in school was a lesson in “socialism.” If cheering on schoolkids in a speech to them is “socialism,” then Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and certainly Ronald Reagan, for pete’s sake, are all “socialists” too. Bloggers remarking on the unusual vitriol said the resistance to President Obama’s speech to schoolkids was partisan grandstanding in light of near-unanimous approval of his speech, helped de-fund schools by pulling students out for a day in opposition to a 20 minute speech and depriving schools of the Average Daily Attendance each school gets per student, and generally was an opportunity for unreasonable people to scream about a perfectly reasonable thing.
What’s a shame is that First Ladies are usually given amnesty in these partisan skirmishes, but Mrs. Obama hasn’t been spared any vitriol. No, the drama seems calculated to embarrass and humiliate the First Lady.
Instead, what the rude behavior of two Miami-Dade school board members has done is draw attention to the extreme, impolite, and excessively partisan nature of the GOP right now. Hard-right, perpetually disgruntled right-wing Republicans are the ones drawing ire from a public that’s sick of partisan ranting. They’ve gone over a cliff, which is what lemmings do. And lemming-like, the more moderate Republicans are following without much of a peep of disagreement. Maybe they’re scared or tired of the bullies in their own party?
Now there’s the real lesson that’s being imparted to observers: GOP partisans would rather yell about a non-existent issue than accept that more than 66% of the country holds Michelle Obama in high esteem (see this Gallup poll, May 2012).
She gardens and exercises and has a good sense of humor…no wonder Jon Stewart thought Michelle Obama’s approval ratings were “80-90%”. The First Lady is charming and dignified, devoted to her causes of military families, children’s nutrition and family fitness, and no amount of mean-girls vicious hazing is going to ruffle her. Over 3,000 enthusiastic supporters showed up at the Miami rally.
So congratulations, Miami-Dade School Board Members with an axe to grind. You’ve just made most of America wonder what’s really peeving you. And why, like the rest of your party, your attention isn’t on bigger issues.