postheadericon Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools

Democrats like Dick Gephardt objected strenuously to President George H.W. Bush addressing students in 1991.

Democrats like Dick Gephardt objected strenuously to President George H.W. Bush addressing students in 1991.

Ah yes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Let’s look back to 1991 when then President George H.W. Bush spoke to students at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. imploring them to stay away from drugs.  That speech was broadcast to schools nationwide after letters were sent to schools around the country encouraging them to allow students to watch.

What was the response at the time?  The wonders of the Internet allow us to travel back in time and take a look.  News stories from the period show that Democrats were much less than pleased with the speech.  Among the complaints, House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt said, “The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students.  And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.’ “

The Washington Post on Friday, October 4, 1991 said this:

House Democrats criticized President Bush yesterday for using Education Department funds to produce and broadcast a speech that he made Tuesday at a Northwest Washington junior high school.

The Democratic critics accused Bush of turning government money for education to his own political use, namely, an ongoing effort to inoculate himself against their charges of inattention to domestic issues. The speech at Alice Deal Junior High School, broadcast live on radio and television, urged students to study hard, avoid drugs and turn in troublemakers.

“The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said. “And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.’ ”

Two House committees demanded that the department explain the use of its funds for the speech, an explanation that Deputy Secretary David T. Kearns provided late in the day in a letter to Rep. William D. Ford (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was out of town.  [...]

Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), chairwoman of the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, said it was outrageous for the White House to “start using precious dollars for campaigns” when “we are struggling for every silly dime we can get” for education programs.

Rep. Martin Frost (D-Tex.) said that if Bush feels obliged to use government funds to hire outside consultants “to make him look good,” then he should fire some of the public relations experts on the White House payroll. “Then the president might be more sympathetic to unemployment benefits,” Frost said, referring to Bush’s threat to veto legislation to extend benefits.

Hmm.  And yet Democrats today want to vilify Republicans for objecting to the president’s speech next week?

Also see:  Perspective redux: Dems ordered GAO to investigate George H.W. Bush school speech

Credit: Thank you to Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters for the history lesson.

76 Responses to “Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools”

  • John M:

    LOL! Good find! People’s memories are pretty short.

    • Mark Dameron:

      Some House Democrats at the time complained about Bush’s speech, but radio commentators did not call Bush a socialist or imply he was trying to form his own version of the Hitler Youth movement. No parents demonstrated in front of school administration buildings, called school officials to denounce presidential efforts at indoctrination, or threatened to keep their children home from school (if they did, it was not mentioned in the press coverage at the time). Nor did any Americans, as far as I know, pray for President Bush’s death because he spoke to America’s schoolchildren and urged them to work hard and succeed.
      By the way, if you watch President Bush’s speech on C-Span video or read the transcript, you will find the following suggestion he made to millions of American schoolchildren:
      “Let me know how you’re doing. Write me a letter — and I’m serious about this one — write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.”
      Sounds a lot like what some Americans are criticising the Obama White House for doing, doesn’t it???

      • Newsericks:

        Great comment. Here’s our further illucidation, in verse.

        Republican furor over Obama school address
        Florida GOP head Jim Greer,
        You’re an obnoxious pain in the rear.
        You make your career
        Out of inciting fear.
        In ignorance, you are without peer.

        Obama’s wanted to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda”
        (oh yes, you said it).
        You condemned his speech
        Before you even read it.

        When the speech was released
        Even you had to confess
        There was nothing in it
        That you could protest.

        But it was political, you say with a sneer.
        There was that line in the memo (later deleted)
        Which you avowedly so fear.
        And you say Dems were also critical of GB1
        When he gave a school speech in 1991.

        Yes, there was the memo to teachers drafted by a long-time Department of Education resident
        Suggesting kids could “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”
        You say that’s what caused you to rail
        (I guess because you want Obama to fail).

        And it’s true, some Dems took Bush 1’s speech as an affront
        Saying the appearance was a political stunt,
        And maybe it was, since one has to say
        That he did announce his candidacy for reelection the next day.

        But noone called Bush 1 a socialist or fascist dictator.
        (Rush Limbaugh, why are you such a hater?)
        Noone accused him of trying to set up his own Hitler Youth
        (Glenn Beck et. al., why are you so uncouth?)

        No parents demonstrated in front of schools
        Or kept their kids home (flouting truancy rules).
        And when Bush 1 said “Write me a letter… about ways you can help us achieve our goals”
        Noone proposed raking him over hot coals.

        Republicans, if you keep up this bent
        Our country’s prospects are dim.
        We’ve only got one President
        And Jim Greer, you ain’t him.

        Obama’s our duly elected President
        So show some respect.
        And stop saying things
        So wildly incorrect.

        (www.myspace.com/Newsericks blog)

  • Pot Calling:

    Where are the Democrats now? Why are there no acquisitions against Obama’s September 8, 2009, speech to school children that is clearly a self serving use of government funds to promote his political agenda and create a cult of personality to children?

    • iowactor:

      Dear Pot,
      The criticism against Bush’s “address to students” in ’91 was that it really wasn’t an address to students. Instead, it was an attempt to use precious Department of Education funds to ignite his re-election campaign (the next day Bush announced his candidacy). In short, it wasn’t about the students. If you watch video of the event I think you will agree that most of it was about two things: the policies he had supported and what his general goals for education are for the future. Did it inspire individual students to work harder and stay in school? In my opinion, it was a poor speech for that purpose.

      • Bill Jenkins:

        The speech was boring at best (typical 41 fare). But it didn’t do what you claim.

        What I think is funny is that democrats claim the public education system as a success story that they banter as their own but it is a disgrace to most of the world.

        We spend more per student on education than anywhere else and get some of the worst results.

        Privatize schools and keep the “public option” open for babysitting the future janitors of America.

        • Sean Bradshaw:

          Really?!?! So What you’re suggesting is that we need to scrap public eduacation because it has some issues, and INSTEAD go to a system where REAL eduacation is only reserved for those who can afford it?
          You cannot be serious. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but in America we believe differently.

    • Janet Johnson:

      Cult of personality??

    • Andy:

      Cult of Personality? Cult? REALLY? America, witness the regression of our nation. look to your right and witness the cult.
      When I was in school, and when all of my children have and were in school, if the president addressed the nation, it was watched.
      The messaging is about staying in school, doing your homework, and aspiring for achievement.

      And because of this, we have an opt out for those who don’t want their children exposed. There was not opt out for the inauguration of this President nor any other. There was no opt out for the speech in ’91 which clearly had policy statements within it, that is indisputable.

      Our nation has erroded and polarized to the point of lunacy. We have what is supposed to be a positive message by the leader of our nation being twisted and turned by a party led by a 58 year old disc-jockey/comedian/addict into an attempt by our president to manipulate our nations youth into a cult. the words Hitler and antichrist are used in the same sentence in many venues about this speech and the man giving it.

      Really? REALLY America?

      Tell me how the right wing is not a cult. Tell me how American people who subscribe to this kind of hate based opinion on syndicated radio and in right wing blogs are not sheep.

      In my childrens school, a district nestled deep in a RED county, the message was sent as such:
      “President Obama will be addressing the nation on September 8th at XXX time. Out of respect for the office of the President of the United States, we will be showing this district wide. However if you choose not to have your child view this, we will offer an alternative activity”.

      One of the most shameful sheep-like messages I have ever witnessed. “Out of respect for the office of the President?!?” pandering to the right, spineless. there are but two options, show it or do not show it. period. I challenge the right to disagree with any piece of the address’s message with actual problems with what is said.

      All of those parents outraged at the fact that a sitting president of our United States shouldn’t be allowed to speak positively to the nation about staying in school, doing their homework, and aspiring to achieve greatness need to line up in front of Rush’s door to pay homage and get their cup of kool-aid from their cult leader.

      I personally won’t have my children follow a pill popping radio personality for instruction on how to think.

      Nor will I rely soley on a sitting president to tell my kids the benefits of staying in school. I do that. But I am PROUD to have a sitting president REINFORCE the message to my children. We do not have enough people in high positions of authority doing this today.

      Maybe someday our nation will move forward. But for now, all of America who thought they were witnessing an historic event of race relations and progressive thought when the first African American was elected decisively to the Office of President, need only look to their right to behold the cult of personality crippling this great nation.

      • Carla:

        My children will watch the speech, but it will be with me rather than their teacher. I have no problem with a president addressing the nation’s children, but I do not understand why it is being done at a time when parents cannot be involved in the discussion with their own children. We have all seen videos of radical right-wing teachers twisting the words and accomplishments of liberals as well as radical left-wing teachers doing the same with conservatives. As I do not know the political affiliation of my children’s teachers yet this year (and hopefully never will, if they each provide a balanced approach to such topics), I would rather help my own children sort through what President Obama’s speech might mean to them rather than entrusting that to someone I have barely met by this point in the year.

        • Becky:

          Amen!!! That is exactly how I felt. But did you notice that if we wanted to bring our children home to watch it together, we couldn’t have. It was not broadcast on any of the local channels.

      • Ryan Jeffers:

        I couldn’t have said it better myself! Excellent!

      • Brian:

        Sounds like you have a little “hate – based opinion” yourself Andy.

  • [...] I know this is likely from a right wing blog, but he cites an article from the Washington Post: Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools | Tony's Rants Republicans are doing to Obama what Democrats did to Bush (both of em). That's why government has [...]

  • Syler Cider:

    Let’s turn the tables…

    Where WERE the Republicans THEN? Why such outrage with Obama’s speech but not even a whimper when Bush gave his speech.

    Let’s just admit what we all know is going on here: the politicians will always back their own party and will flip-flop to accommodate their party.

    But, I’m curious, was there this much PUBLIC backlash against Bush’s school speech?? Were parents threatening to keep their kids home from school at Alice Deal Junior High when they found out Bush was going to speak to their kids?

    • Deb:

      Syler:

      I think one of the main differences here is the materials that the Obama Administration is providing to go along with this speech.

      I don’t believe that Bush provided ANY study materials for his speech, becasue that is best left for TEACHERS.

      Not to mention, the so-called study materials are outrageous, in my opinion. Why should my child need to think about what “helps the president” Or “Read books about Obama”? Excuse me? All that for a 15-20 minute speech about education and staying in school? How is that in anyway going to help my child in the real world? Sounds like someone wants to have his EGO stroked AND that is a waste of my hard earned tax dollars at work?

      My child can watch the speech with me, in the privacy of our home. And that is my final answer.

      • iowactor:

        Dear Deb,
        I agree with your criticism of the accompanying materials–mainly because the Dept. of Education is precluded from passing such materials down to the state. Still, I am confident Obama is using this opportunity to encourage individual students to stay in school and work hard to achieve academic success.

      • Sandy:

        I have to agree. I have no problem with the President encouraging students to stay in school. I think that’s a fabulous idea. So what’s with the material that the Dept of Ed sent out? What do questions about the President have to do with staying in school & doing the best they can. That part sounds more like indoctrination into the liberal agenda. I would have also preferred it be aired so that parents & their children could watch and discuss together. This completely takes that away from the parents and puts in the hands of teachers…….I see this as just more government interference.

        • Deb:

          Sandy:

          The speech will be available on-line at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/mediaresources/

          AFTER the aired speech if you choose to watch it with your child. That is what I will be doing.

          http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml
          The Dept of Education website has also stated that the written speech will be available on Monday, the day prior to the aired speech. Although I am going to read it, I will opt out of having my son watch it at school without me.

          I think this whole speech at this time for our country is a large waste of money and time the president should be devoting to much more important matters.

      • Literate:

        Of the things that stand out as right wing cultism, I noticed something in particular. Those spouting all of their fears and claims about the “required reading/worksheets/homework”…try reading the material placed on the White House website…even the originals. The call to read books about presidents and Barack Obama actually refers to the teachers so that they may be able to intelligently ask and answer questions in the classroom. In reference to the “homework”, it is not a requirement…it is listed under the header of “teachers could”…as in these are suggestions for further discussing what the president has to say. They are not government issued homework assignments.

  • Mary:

    Syler,

    You make some good points but the same could be said about the Dems. If this type of speech was objectionable to them in 1991, why are they silent now?

    As for the public backlash… No, I don’t imagine there was and perhaps that is an important point. Perhaps the fact there is such a big backlash now against THIS president says something about him and his policies. Now that is perhaps a lesson that should be taught to Mr. Obama.

    • Kathy:

      Or the big backlash now says more about the people complaining than it does about the president and his policies.

      • Mary:

        Did that apply in 1991 too when the Dems had a cow over it?

        • Kathy:

          Yep. It goes both ways. Nobody’s sh*t stinks less than anyone else’s .

          I expect partisan politicians to behave in a partisan way. That’s the way it works. I also expect the tinfoil hat-wearing extremists on both sides to get their panties in a knot, whatever the issue. It’s when the partisan politicians start to listen to and behave like the tinfoil hat wearers on their side that there’s a problem.

          Yes, schools should decide if and when to show the speech. That’s just prudent policy for any school. But to say “Never!” about an unseen speech by the leader of the free world (no matter who holds the office) out of some sort of fear of mind-controlling indoctrination? Come on people, that’s just nuts!

  • Benito:

    The lesson couldnt be more clear: When you take the side of the little man and the middle class, and threat the special interests of powerful groups like health insurance companies, financial companies, and other unscrupulous people that put their greed in front of the prosperity of this great contry, you better be ready.

  • JCbt:

    I can agree that the Democrats were probably irritated that Bush #1 told kids not to use drugs. I mean, the Dems got to be smoking something to believe in their leaders.

    I can guarantee that the lesson plan “if any” included such incredibly political language such as:

    Why is it important to listen to the president and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

    Ummmm, “listen to”?????!!!!!
    “Why is what they say important?”?????!!!!!!

    Does anybody see what dangerous propaganda this is? McCarthy should be clawing at his grave. The last I heard was that those MFr’s need to listen to me!!! Not the other way around. Obama is an egomaniac whose whole campaign duped people into believing several verbs that had no substantial meaning or truth.

    If this happens for 4 years and god help us 8 years many children exposed to this will be voting age when he is out of office? Anyone see the significance of this?

  • Debra:

    It’s not so much that Presidents (from either political party) should not address students with encouraging words towards persuing such noble ideals and goals such as staying off drugs, working hard, staying in school, having big dreams and goals etc., it’s this idea that “lesson plans,” with emphasis on Pres. Obama and what we as citizens and students should do for him, how can we please him, which is very troubling. It’s too much of the “dear leader” socialist style and the “it’s all about Obama” that is creepy. The Dept. of Education turned into the Dept. of Indoctrination with this over reach. The public was not so fearful of a Capitalist like Bush (and they were all asleep to politics back then.) Thankfully the public is waking up and voicing their displeasure when these matters arise, and thankfully the Dept. of Education has at least revised it’s lesson plan suggestions to focus more on the student and their personal goals and pledges to themselves, not some politician or political leader. Personal Responsibility and Self Reliance, Independence and Personl Freedom and Hard Work, and the Pursuit of Happiness are values that all our Presidents and leaders should be emphasizing as the foundation of our Republic – with a special focus on Limited Government thrown in for good measure. Our kids get enough bias and misinformation in the public schools without the President using his bully pulpit to stiffle critical thinking! Maybe the lesson plan suggestions should include some thought to how studying and learning our Constitution will benefit everyone in order to protect us from domestic enemies who wish to beguil our thoughts and weaken this most precious document!

    • JCbt:

      Debra,

      The quotes I left above are from the current lesson plan posted at http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic.bts.html

      Much of it is still incendiary material. And don’t be duped as you say, “Personal Responsibility and Self Reliance, Independence and Personl Freedom and Hard Work, and the Pursuit of Happiness “. These are all buzz words the North Korean government uses in their propaganda every day. The concept of Self Reliance is the juche philosophy preached by that regime. We need to be very careful about the message being delivered from the White House these days, and for a while now. Not just under this &$#!@#. At some point we started trusting the government, when a fundamental strength of our Republic has always been dissent.

      Read books people, and lots of them. Its ok to be on one side or the other, just as long as your well informed. Part of the health care debate problem now is that one side is blindly believing what the government is saying when not a single fact or figure backs up their data about the fiscal value of socializing health care. Their argument is that the govt says so, so it must be true. The other side is blindly trusting conservative radio and TV. This country is not 50/50, its fifty states with a middle.

      I have told my school my son is not allowed to watch this propaganda. He will be watching Schoolhouse Rocks in the Library about the founding fathers, and the constitution. No politics there, just important history. I encourage you all to demand the same from your schools.

      • Benito:

        The reference about “the fiscal value of socializing health care” is another misinformation spread by unscrupulous peolpe. The gov doesnt want to socialize health care. They want to keep health care private. They want to garantee choice for the american people, including a public option of health insurance, that will reduce costs. Lets be informed. Why instead of focusing on the differences between democrats and republicans, we can not work together for the prosperity of our country?

        • JCbt:

          Wow, no sooner than I say it does someone prove my point. ;) Thanks Benito, and um spell checkers might add a little bit of credibility to your otherwise convincing, original, and well thought-out argument.

          • JCbt:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G44NCvNDLfc

            Benito, watch this. And if you can continue to tow the “this is not socialized, gvt run” health care argument then it is really time to get out the sheers and start trimming the democrat sheep from this nation of sycophants. Obama is a parasitic liar who has already multiplied the Bush agenda of HUGE government 3 fold.

            You tell me how an option that is administered by the government is not government run. Tell me one government run program, except the military (because we buy all our weapons from private manufacturers) that excels beyond other countries. Every single thing coming from the government is run in the red, with no real satisfactory results and continued need for more and more government.

            Obama’s fiscal policy of creating jobs by creating more government jobs results in more debt for this nation and more burden for you and me. Guess who pays those government workers? You (if you have a decent job) and me. And any taxes a government worker pays are actually paid from taxes on taxes. Empty money and more debt. Regardless of what those pinheads think. Money cannot just be printed and distributed without any real supporting value.

          • Steve Pipenger:

            JCBT:

            There’s only one thing, you’re just plain wrong. Putting aside the argument as to why “government-run” health care is so bad (countries who have single-payer…Canada and England have healthier people, lower costs, better outcomes and generally healthier people). I digress: let’s take a look at the facts: Medicare…lower overhead than any private insurance company, among the highest satisfaction among patients who are in the Medicare program…this is akin to what a “public option” would be no providers of actual healthcare are government employees, so no socialized; the Veterans’ Administration: the highest satisfaction among patients within that system, among the best outcomes IN THE WORLD (according to a recent Rand Corporation study). VA IS socialized, government-run health care. All providers are government employees, all administrative personnel are government-run.

            As for your nonsense regarding military (it works well because we buy our weapons from private contractors), again, you’re just plain wrong. Contractors are up to ten times more expensive than GIs and are not better and are often worst. My brother is in the military stationed in Qatar for a time refueling planes for the Gulf War. There were contractors there: they made 10 times what my brother paid and they could leave any time they wanted. Moreover, the general order was to protect the contractor’s first and the military guys hated them. Moreover: think Wackenhut, think Blackwater…total and complete incompetence at 10 times the price doing what GIs used to do. Frankly, you also forgot about the Police, Fire Department, Public Libraries, National Parks, our roads, airports, railroads. I, for one, think the government is pretty good at these things and would not want them privatized and made for-profit. Imagine the privatized fire department showing up at your burning house only to find out you didn’t pay your bill and choosing to let your house burn down.

          • JCbt:

            Guess what, I lived in England for 3 years. It was the worst health care I have ever received. I had to be sick to get a blood test, when I knew that I had an issue with my liver producing too many enzymes. When I was hit by a bus, and walked to the hospital the doctor would not XRay me because his visual inspection showed no bleeding and was promptly sent home because it was a busy night at the hospital. I was in shock and didnt know i was hurt. 4 hours later I collapsed from a spleen that finally ruptured. Do you think i am happy to not have to have paid for the operation?

            My wife had our son there, and constantly complained of fatigue for months after birth. They told her child care is difficult, drink red bull. When we came to the States the first thing the doctor did was order a blood test. She was diagnosed as hyperthyroid. Had she been treated earlier she would have stood a much better chance at recovering quickly. 1 year and a half of complaining to several GPs in England yielded nothing. I also have loads of tales from my British friends that would make your skin crawl.

            No need to try and convince me how great they got it there. It may be ok if you got the sniffles. But anything that will kill ya. Look out nelly!

            If Medicare is so great than why do they keep saying it is going bankrupt and we need to revamp it? Could it be that the government doesn’t know how to run a lemonade stand but tries to run the world? As for the fire department etc. guess what, not nationalized the last i checked. They are paid by state and local governments and have a vested interest to protect their neighborhoods, and took a sworn oath to protect and serve. They are volunteers! Just like our military! I really don’t see your comparison as a valid and comparable argument here. As for our army, they are the best equipped in the world hands down. As I said before, why? Because private companies produce, research and develop our weapons.

            Russia proved very clearly that large state run systems are not economically viable. They also proved that war in Afghanistan was un-winnable. Do we need to repeat the lessons they already learned. Took them 10 years to get the heck out of dodge because the Taliban we supported kicked their asses. And now we want to go against those nut jobs? My suspicion is that those bastards are gonna go 2 for 2 against super powers.

            O yeah, you finally forgot to mention that of all those countries with socialized health care have populations a fraction of ours but still run health care deficits. Governments do not manage well. The current govt mismanaged a ridiculous cash for clunkers scheme and misinterpreted demand by 2 billion dollars, they misinterpreted the budget deficit by 2 trillion dollars. And you want to trust them to manage “health insurance reform”?

            Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me! We are on a path to over 20 years of absolutely no credibility in the White House. When is enough, enough?

      • slycatt:

        I feel sorry for your kids! What a hugely missed opportunity! But that’s the right you have as an American.

        • JCbt:

          Why is this a missed opportunity? I view it as an opportunity to watch the broadcast before I let my son see it. I have already seen the lesson plans, and I don’t see a single value in there that I do not already stress in my household.

          I am more irritated that with our schools already strapped for cash (great govt run program there) why they heck couldnt they spend the money on this “I’m so great be inspired by me video” on something else.

    • Carolyn:

      Debra,
      Well spoken!

  • tim:

    You don’t show any news reports about Republicans telling Bush to stop….which seemingly negates your point

    • Tony:

      I disagree. The story simply shows that what is good for the goose is not so good for the gander. Dems did not feel it was okay then but it seemingly is now. Whether R or D, they both play the game.

      The real issue at hand is not the fact POTUS wanted to address schoolchildren. In and of itself that could be a good lesson for kids and be inspirational for them. The problem is the lesson plans the White House and DoE offered up – they did not call for service to the nation or to their fellow man but rather to the president directly. That is a political message in our schools and that is wrong. Couple the “Dear Leader” message that sends with the totality of everything else that is happening as this president gathers power unto himself, it is downright scary.

  • Dave:

    There is a bit of delicious irony surrounding this issue. If one reads through the suggested PreK-6 activities at the Dept. of Educ. website (http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/lessons/prek-6.pdf) and that’s all that these documents are by the way, suggested “activities,” a rational, thoughtful and independently minded person quickly grasps that these are exercises that are suggested – prior to the President’s address – to stimulate THOUGHT, REFLECTION and DISCUSSION. Nothing more. This is not some sinister plot cooked up to “pollute the minds” or our children and steer our Country off the cliff toward Socialism or Communism. It’s an attempt by the elected Leader of our Country and his Administration to follow-through on a campaign promise. Remember the talk during the campaign about inspiring our youth to do better; to get involved; to serve their Country. Remember, by the way, how Kennedy galvanized a divided and struggling Nation by stating “Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country?” Our Country desperately needs thought provoking and civil exchanges right now. Not raucous Town Hall meetings. Our increasing inability to engage in open discourse and encourage acceptance of the views of others is hobbling our great Country. We are creating a scarcity of critical thinkers. Instead, we’re encouraged to take the path of least resistance and let the talking heads (Limbaugh, Maddow, Hannity, Olberman and others) do our thinking for us. Rather than being encouraged or taught by our parents, peers and leaders to do our own research and form our own opinions, we’re being conditioned to take the easy way out and let others do our thinking for us. We turn to the talking heads who communicate in flashy and sarcastic sounds bites, who use catch phrases and we accept viral chain e-mails as truth! Take this site, for example. The fire breathing photo of Gephardt is priceless! Come on people. We’re better than this. Take a deep breath, step away from the rhetoric, educate yourself and engage in civil dialogue with your neighbors. We’ve got to if we’re going to move this great Country forward and create a better future for future generations.

    • JCbt:

      Sorry, Kennedy said “Country” not “the president”.

      Do you think that speech would have had the same zip if he had said, Ask not what your President can do for you, but What you can do for the President.” Obama hates this country. It comes out everytime he meets a foreign official or addresses a foreign crowd. He does love himself though.

      Characteristics of Fascist Philosophy

      Fascism, especially in its early stages, is obliged to be antitheoretical and frankly opportunistic in order to appeal to many diverse groups. Nevertheless, a few key concepts are basic to it. First and most important is the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it. The state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state’s benefit. This “total state” is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens.

      Why is everyone so afraid of admitting what has been burgeoning in this country since Bush #1 and accellerated with Bush #2 and put into overdrive with Obama? The definition is right there.

      • Roger:

        Obama hates this country? What makes you say that? His whole life is a testament to the opposite. His trip from humble beginnings to helping others in humble situations to the Presidency demonstrates the love he has for America and Americans.

        Make no mistake, I’m not satisfied with the way he carried out domestic policy thus far. However, his approach to foreign policy is a huge improvement over the prior administration.

        To call Obama a fascist is patently ridiculous. His whole life has been spent assisting individuals in difficult situations. He has help people help themselves.

        • Tom L:

          Yes, our Dear Leader is someone we should all look up to with wonder. We live to honor him.

          Give me a break. Your idol worship of the guy is sickening.

      • Steve Pipenger:

        What? I was going to respond to that silliness, but it’s just not worth it.

  • Steve Pipenger:

    There are some real differences in the Democratic reactions then versus now, at least as I see it. The Democrats in 1991 were complaining that it was a campaign speech, essentially. Nobody said it was anything about indoctrinating, at least as I read it. Whereas now, the allusions to North Korea, Iraq and the Soviet Union seem a bit different to me. Obama’s re-election, assuming he runs, is 3+ years off.

    • Mary:

      When you already have raised concerns about being a socialist by your actions – takeovers of industries, banks, healthcare – you would think if the man were so smart he would figure out this wasn’t such a great idea.

      Remember that the issue was not raised because of the speech itself. It was raised because of the accompanying lesson plans that called for students to pledge allegiance to the president. It didn’t call on them to serve the nation. It all rings of a “Dear Leader”, Orwellian kind of thing and is scary.

  • Roger:

    There is a huge difference between protesting the content of speech after it is given and declaring the speech to be propaganda before it is even given. There is no evidence of a protest of Bush’s speech or even Reagan’s before they happened.

  • Steve Pipenger:

    JCBT. You insist that the Brit NHS is the worst you’ve seen. Great. Then you haven’t been denied care here…or been charged $700 for an appointment to see a doctor for an ear infection. The facts are this: every industrialized country has better outcomes than the United States does. Every industrialized has generally healthier people. Oh, and we mustn’t forget our stellar record on infant mortality at about 30th in the world. As for your right wing talking points about Medicare…not true. Medicare is in trouble because of over priced health care…no cost controls.

    I also noticed you didn’t address any of my other arguments. How about we take away VA health care (by the way, DoD runs Walter Reed, not the VA). The fact is this: we spend double the rest of the world and we have much worse outcomes. Why is that? Because $.30 of every healthcare dollar goes to pay non-healthcare expenses. Again, your statements about the military silly. The troops are NOT the “best equipped.” Ever hear of the armor problem in Iraq? How about all the people getting sick? Bad food? Contaminated water? Oh yes!!!! Contractors did NOT provide the service…you know privatized military.

    The fact is this: there are some things the government does better. Those things include delivery of services, regardless of ability to pay. There are, contrary to right-wing belief, things that should NOT be for-profit.

    There is no doubt we need health care reform. Anyone who DOES doubt that really does not deserve a seat at the table in the discussion. There are plenty of ways to pay for government involvement. Among those are to cut the military budget. We do not need to be spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined. (See http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm). Plain and simple the cause of our problems is the militarization of our country (unnecessary wars). The right wing’s exorbitant spending and utter failure when entrusted with the government. While I am not fan of Bill Clinton, he proved what happens when one chooses competent people to run departments (take a look at FEMA then vs. Mr. Arabian Horse Association under Bush).

    Wasn’t this entire thread about the lack of Democratic consternation about Obama’s speech in alleged contrast to the 1991 speech? In any event, the two are different. One was a campaign speech (Bush’s…he announced his reelection bid the next day) and one is not. In one the Democrats ranted about politicization and giving a policy speech to kids (as props) versus one where the president (and a number of others including some NASCAR drivers) urged kids to stay in school. The GOP and their minions’ (to the extent they have minions) protest lies in likening a speech exhorting kids to stay school to some propaganda ploy out of das Dritte Reich. The bottom line is this: there are a number of GOPers who don’t like one of “them” being President. The 800 pound gorilla is race in this equation. I don’t defend either party in either case, but the response from the right is just reprehensible. For some reason, the right is predisposed to seeing something nefarious about everything someone they don’t like does. Having worked for a Member of Congress who was a member of the 1994 GOP class and seeing the bat crap craziness from the GOP with the entangling of religion and political ideology, the GOP, and more broadly the right wing, has no standing to criticize about subversion.

    • Dave:

      Steve, you are so far off base. The examples of how superior our healthcare system are to Britain’s, Canada’s and other nations is well documented. A recent study from Stanford, published by a guy who is a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School included the following interesting points:

      1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
      2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
      3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.
      4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.
      5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
      6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.
      7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
      8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
      9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.
      10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.

      I would challenge you to prove any of those points wrong. If our system is so bad, why do these points show otherwise? Canada’s system is the one the proposed one for the U.S. is modeled after and yet by virtually every measure our current system outperforms theirs. Why then would we choose to emulate them?

      Lastly, your infant mortality right claim is not accurate – or rather the statistics it is based on are not. The statistics behind the numbers that show the U.S. being outperformed in this measure are inaccurate. Many nation’s that rank “higher” than the U.S. do not conform to the standards for counting infant deaths as put forth by the World Health Organization. If we all aren’t counting the same, then the numbers of course cannot be correct or trusted. Do a search on it.

    • Allan B:

      I don’t quite understand why people want to tout other nation’s healthcare systems as being superior to the one in the U.S. when all the evidence is to the contrary. I just came across this pretty scary story:

      “Sentenced to death on the NHS – Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.

      “In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

      “Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away. ”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6127514/Sentenced-to-death-on-the-NHS.html

      • Bill Jenkins:

        Because left wingers in those countries lie to defend their cruddy system and the left wingers in this countries lie to try to GET the cruddy system that they will be able to lie about in the future.

        Make no bones about it, the health care industry needs work but the democrat’s plan is an abomination.

        Free market principals are NOT being properly applied in the insurance industry while these left wingers go around straight-up lying by claiming that it is the free market letting us down.

        Liberals are d-heads and d-bags.

  • Benito:

    JCbt. Thank you for the link. You seem like a pretty smart person that likes to be informed and cares for this country. But some of your remarks, like my misspellings do to my arguments, affect your credibility. If you want to make some sense in your statements, I suggest you shouldn’t call the president of your country a &$#!@#., just for the sake of decency, regardless your opposition. The “parasitic liar” title fits better the standards of a thoughtful discussion, but you have not said which of his statements a lie is.
    Of course an option that is administered by the government is government run. But again, the existence of a government-run option of health insurance does not make the whole health care system socialized. I hope you understand that in the proposed reform the health providers are going to be still private businesses. And one of the principles is guarantee choice, which means that the goal is the private insurance companies are going to be able to compete with the public option.. That way you and me, and the American people are going to have the benefit to choose what we consider is better for us.
    If you want to be well informed watch this video, I hope you don’t want to hear only one side of the story:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/481
    You say that the fire dept, etc are not nationalized; they are paid by state and local governments, of course I believe you realize that they are run by the govt.

    I wish I could find better words to explain that in this crisis we can not afford to be wasting time and energy in a battle between Democrats and Republicans. I know that you disagree, but I strongly believe that this president is doing his best for getting our country forward. This concern and fear about what the president is going to say to our students is a measure of the lies spread by unscrupulous people. The statement posted by Tony “…the lesson plans the White House and DoE offered up – they did not call for service to the nation or to their fellow man but rather to the president directly” is implying that the president is calling for service to himself. And I believe this is a very dishonest lie. The statement of Congressman Mike Rogers that the bill is goingg to punish the 85% of the American workers who have health care benefits in order to help the 15% that don’t have is another dishonest lie. The same way, is very dishonest to use the scary tactic of saying that if the bill passes the index of survivability for different types of cancer in america will be lower. It is just absurd to suggest that the bill will make disapere the level of knoledge and expertise achived by our health institutions. The same it is just absurd to say that is not the responsibility of the govt to fix our broken health system, but it is the responsibility of the private health insurance companies, when we all know that their priority is to make profit. How many people in America have died for being denied coverage? Somebody came up with the title “Death Panels.” We aready forgot 17-year old Nataline Sarkisyan?If you want to see a real case of Death Panel watch this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McGm00Mvakc
    She died unnecessarily. It might happen to any of us.

    • Benito:

      Sorry, I should say she died unnecessarily because of the decision of a Death Panel?

    • JCbt:

      I cannot believe that you would supply a web link to the goverment’s response to these health care issues. I can only say “huh!!!!?????” You seem to think that suddenly i would find anything they say credible.

      Especially when I show a specific congressman reading pages directly from the bill itself strongly refuting what the government is telling us.

      I remember when i was a little kid and I didn’t want to hear something my parents were telling me i would cup my hands over my ears, move them up and down real fast and yell AHHHHWWWWAAAAWAAAWAAA.

      It seems like that is what has happened on both sides of this debate in many ways.

      MY sole and only point in all of this is that the disease in all of this (the govt) is acting as the cure.

      Just read this. It is highly enlightening: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=172

      I hope that this will give you a better perspective of the smoke and mirrors coming from those toolheads in Washington.

  • Gloria F.:

    If you really want educated adults, children must be taught to listen to both sides of an issue and to thoughtfully discuss all points of view. To shut out children from hearing the President of the U.S. is to set them up for ignorance. Parents and teachers have a teaching moment whenever the President addresses the nation – adults or children. What has happened to that touted GOP ideal of patriotism? It was patriotic to give support to President Bush – after all, it was supposed to show our strength and unity to enemy countries. Now that a new President is in the White House, those same people who shouted for patriotic support of the President are now turning their backs and reacting in less-than-patriotic ways.

    • Dave:

      It isn’t about the speech – it never was. Obama isn’t dumb enough to make it political (at least I don’t think he is). The real issue is the lesson plans issued by the White House and how they read as a “Dear Leader” type message not unlike we would expect from Mao Tse-tung, Kim Jong-il, or from Hitler.

      It is the duty of every American to question their leaders no matter what party they belong to. When we stop doing so, we are headed down a very dark and troubled path.

      • Gloria F.:

        A suggested lesson plan is just that – suggested and NOT mandated. I receive lots of ed videos with suggested lesson which are easily discarded. Get a life. Obama is your President. Get over it. As for parents or anyone censoring students from hearing an opposing point of view – shame on you. Are you that afraid that your own propaganda won’t hold up to someone else’s???

        • Allan B:

          And therein lies the problem, Gloria. Left wing, card carrying union members like yourself make up the vast majority of teachers. Your attitude shows exactly why a parent wouldn’t trust the government education system to deal with the situation properly.

  • Roy Hogue:

    It’s not so much the speach, but the lesson plans. It’s already been said too many times, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Keep your children home on September 8,

  • Maria C.:

    This is the problem…
    Read: President Obama: Adults Don’t Ask Children for Help
    http://doristhesaurus.com/?p=966

  • Benito:

    Definitely it is the right of every parent to control what their children have access to, but I believe that every parent that keep their children away from such valuable experience is teaching them disregard for the problems that currently affect this country, intolerance, and ignorance.

  • K Ste:

    Wow i was called a racist today because I refuse to let my children listen to Obama!!! Wow !! I am so glad that I found this site and will be letting everyone know about it!!

  • Robert Jones:

    The big problem, of course, is that none of the students in our three school districts here in Mohave Valley, Arizona will be seeing President Obama’s address. Our Public School Superintendents are running scared and free speech is out the window. It was fine for Republican Presidents like Bush and Reagan to address the children but not for a Democratic President.

  • E.P.B.:

    I dont understand the concern over Obama’s address to school children. The public schools and universities have been feeding left wing propaganda to our kids for decades, whats the big deal?

    • JCbt:

      University kids are supposed to be smart enough to know better, but typically aren’t. Why do you think the youth were the overwhelming voters for Obummer.

      Young enough to still want to save the world but, no idea how to pay for it. That’s what happens when you live on daddy’s payroll.

  • Robert Jones:

    Now that I have read the text President Obama’s very inspiring address from the White House website, I can see that it is not partisan at all and that the people who object to it are objecting to something that they have not read. I believe that that is the very definition of prejudice: Judging or coming to a conclusion before you have seen the evidence.

    • JCbt:

      I didn’t ever object to his speech. I objected to the lesson plan. And potential implementation of it. Face it, regardless of what he said, how the teacher eventually presented the learning points goes a long way to how your child is shaped.

      My son sat in the Library and learned about the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and our forefathers. He came home and told me about them, and how our country was founded. He is five.

      My neighbors son who is in the same school, five years old but different class, came home and told his mom all the things that Obama said he should do. Hmmm. One comes home with concepts of revolution, the other with concepts of subjugation. I suppose both a form of indoctrination.

      No matter what, the real problem that rests with all american issues is that we have lost a tremendous sense of community and neighborly trust. Nationalism does nothing but divide, as we can see by this post.

  • [...] Tony’s Rants Similar Stories Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools [...]

  • Tony:

    Here’s a bit of an interesting addendum to the debate. We now know that Democrats went so far as to hold hearings and order an investigation into President Bush’s 1991 speech. Further, the NEA, the left-wing teacher’s union, strenuously objected to it. Will Democrats and the NEA do the same for President Obama’s speech? Somehow I think not.

    More details: http://www.tonysrants.com/national/perspective-redux-dems-ordered-gao-to-investigate-george-h-w-bush-school-speech/

  • WayHix:

    So, the new American political philosophy is “we’re just as capable of paranoid nuttiness as they are”? Or “Our guy isn’t quite as big a crooked incompetent as your guy is”?
    C’mon.
    The lesson the KIDS will get from this hubbub is the lesson that we adults should be taking a lesson from. That we can’t even work together across “party lines” or support efforts in the positive ( a speech exhorting kids to educate themselves) because OUR guy isn’t making the speech.
    Doesn’t matter who does it, why they do it…when or on what grounds. To protest the President of the U.S. giving such a talk to our kids is partisan paranoid silliness and should be roundly rejected by any thinking American. Honestly, what did the “conservatives” think he’d do? Implant subliminals that would result in Universal Health Care? Any attempt at flagrant propagandizing by Obama would’ve actually aided the cause of these paranoids. So it stands to reason he’d avoid it at any cost.
    Hopefully our students will prove far more critical thinkers than the parents making furious and loud noise signifying nothing on this non-issue.

    • JCbt:

      How would you know if they didn’t plant them? The would be subliminal.

      Come to think of it i am feeling a little bit more like govt nannycare is a great idea for the bloated goat it is. ;)

  • [...] be honest and admit it? I really enjoy the double standard the democrats are enjoying now. Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools [...]

  • [...] after reading the speech, can you at least be honest and admit it? Ah yes, the double standard! Perspective: Dems slammed George H.W. Bush for address to schools [...]

  • Mom12:

    The hypocracy in his speech today was telling the children to do all they can to succeed in education. Yet he has done nothing to help them succeed- why doesn’t he step up to offer more funding and resources? The Feds have never funded NCLB even though the program made specific call for it. Stop giving us lip service. We tire of your hot air and empty promises!

    • JCbt:

      Agreed, how much money time and effort was spent on this when it could have been spent providing further education for our teachers to teach better, or more computers, beakers, whatever in the classroom.

      • E.P.B.:

        The real hypocracy is while he tells all the kids they must take responsibilty for their own lives and futures’ he tells allthe adults to line up for government freebes

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