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?