Jim Himes speaks on ObamaTalk

Himes Disappointed with New Canaan Parents
By Teri Buhl
Congressman Himes isn’t happy with New Canaan teachers and parents enforcing a school wide decision to opt-out of Obama’s speech tomorrow. So much so that he dragged his wife and two young daughters to stand on the steps of New Canaan’s town hall and listen to him hold a press conference (with TV cameras) touting that fact he is “deeply disappointed and even frightened’ about the towns decision.
On Friday, Superintendent David Abbey sent a letter to all New Canaan parents notifying them a school wide assembly to watch the President’s speech wasn’t going to happen.
Today, Himes who arrived in jeans and a preppy pink-stripped oxford spoke with zealousness and passion.
“We should embrace a chance to let our children hear their President talk and are missing a unique teachable moment,” says Himes. In New Canaan registered Republicans out number Democrats two to one.
FOUR local cops were there to police a crowd of only 50 residents, including at least 10 elementary school kids.  Maybe officials thought Himes would come up against rowdy opposition; but unlike last week’s town halls on health care, there were no shouting constituents and very few had questions for Himes. Why would they, considering he’s not a resident and doesn’t play a role in local school decisions?
One parent who did speak out freely, Roy with a daughter at the middle school, told Himes, “Why isn’t Obama’s speech happening at night? So I can sit there and discuss it with my daughter instead of her teachers.” Roy was glad the school system chose to allow parents to opt-out of the event.
Not surprisingly Ginny Apy, chair of New Canaan Democratic Town Committee, was handing out a statement expressing frustration that New Canaan’s decision had drawn the eye of the national press.  She wrote, “We find it detrimental to be drawn into national spotlight, on this issue.”  Yesterday on Meet the Press, MSNBC’s David Gregory quoted from New Canaan’s letter to parents.
What was surprising was the fact Himes didn’t ask New Canaan’s superintendent David Abbey to attend the press conference — luckily he showed up on his own accord. To clarify any misconceptions parents might have regarding whether their kids will be required to do school work for Obama. Abbey reiterated this was a decision by the teachers and principals and not solely his or the Board of Education’s.
After Himes scooted away from the crowd Abbey told parents, “Look, all that’s going to happen in most schools is Obama will give the speech, some kids will clap, and they go back to class.” Abbey added that it concerned him that the speech has become a political event instead of a learning event.
Jim Kurcharczyk, member of New Canaan Board of Education said, “Even though I only heard from about 80 parents (there are 4,000 students in New Canaan’s school system), the majority were against forcing their kids to listen to Obama’s totalitarian views.” Kurcharczyk pointed out that this is really a special event and not a part of a regular curriculum – with special events parents are usually given the chance to opt out.
In letter sent to the media that is addressed to school superintendents and parents of Himes district, he writes, “As a Democrat, I might be charged with fighting to promote the President’s point of view. Nonsense.”  Looks like New Canaan parents thought what was non-sensical is President Obama coming through our school systems to spread his message to our kids.


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8 responses to “Jim Himes speaks on ObamaTalk

  1. Anonymous

    Little Jimmie doesn’t like to appear before his constituents without a lot of police protection.

    Little Jimmie hasn’t learned that he is supposed to listen to his constituents, not dictate to them.

    Maybe that’s why Little Jimmie is so afraid.

  2. Lorin

    It was a really good speech….credit due. By making so much of it, after all, Regan and Bush did it also, it seems the deeply serious concerns about encroaching stateism are marginalized. No?

  3. Red

    I am aghast at the wimpiness of the New Canaan Board of Ed, and the idiocy of a BOE Member who denounces Obama’s “totalitarian views”. On the other hand, I live in Greenwich and don’t care if New Canaan is going to hell in a handbasket.

  4. PG

    I think this reporter’s point was why did Himes need a press conference yesterday, which actually continued to get the issue out on national level.
    New Canaan schools listening to what their parents want their kids to hear sounds like democracy working at its best.
    The Obama speech was motivating – if your a child is in a distressed school or economic environment but New Canaan kids aren’t in that situation are they? I applaud David Abbey for his decision and think Himes was foolish to speak out so strongly against it.

  5. Anonymous

    that or the outcry wrapped his knuckles but good, and they had to revise the speech over the weekend.

    it was win-win for obammy. either pimp the cult of personality and statism and get away with it, or if caught, present something generally bland to soften the beach for the next cult of personality appearance.

    otherwise, what kind of arrogant, narcissistic kook, writes a speech ten times longer than the gettysburg address and has the audacity to think it will have great appeal and relevance for all students from kindergarten through the 12th grade across the variety of all the public schools in the country?

  6. newcanaanite

    With this school speech, Obama was just trying to gain some more fans since he lost so many of his Dem supporters. He’s got better things to do at the moment and although he is a great motivational speaker, since he consistently lies (not good on any details of ANY legislation-over his head) about what’s in the healthcare bill and has pissed off most of the country, parents don’t trust him or any other Marxists.

  7. new canaan parent

    This is good reporting and a refreshing view. After what we are forced to read in the Hearst papers – it’s hard to tell what is really happening with the Himes agenda. I hope we hear more from this journalist.

  8. The idiocy of some New Canaan residents is astounding. What is “totalitarian” about encouraging schoolchildren to work hard? Like it or not, the President of the United States is Barack Obama, and having the highest elected official in the United States address the nation’s schoolchildren is entirely appropriate.

    It is imperative that our children work harder, aim higher, set goals, and stick to them — for our nation’s future. It is entirely appropriate to have our highest elected official stress this message during the school day.

    The fact that reactionary dunces on the right have politicized such an utterly non-controversial happening is a symptom of how some people have lost their ability to function as American citizens after losing an election. It’s not ALL about politics and elections. Sometimes it’s about being an American. I’m glad the majority of Americans know this, but it’s pathetic that there are 80+ parents in an educated town like New Canaan raising their children in this narrow-minded way.