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Democrats Investigated and Held Hearings about GHW Bush's 1991 Speech to Schoolchildren

Democrats are shocked and outraged that some Americans are a bit suspicious about Obama's speaking to their kids today (As a commenter notes below, it wasn't the speech itself that upset many parents. It was the lesson plan accompanying the speech). As far as they are concerned they don't understand why someone would not want to marinate their children in Obama's beliefs and politics. As Charlie Quidnuc points out below, the University of Washington has made Obama's Dreams of my Father this year's common book and are spending taxpayer dollars to give a free copy to every incoming freshman. (Note to self: rule out UofWashington as potential university for all of my kids)

I'm sure Democrats would prefer that we forget how they reacted to former president GHW Bush's speech to school kids back in 1991. They didn't just express outrage. They investigated and held hearings on it. Byron York explains:

The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

Rep. William Ford, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, demanded the General Accounting Office investigate the speech as well as the cost of its production because he was convinced there was some illegality going on. The GAO came back and said it found nothing improper or illegal with the president's speech. Undetered by this information, the Democrats continued their potshots at Bush nonetheless and said the president's speech was nothing more than a "staged media event."

Republicans could very well argue that the president's speech today is nothing more than a PR stunt designed to promote himself rather that inspire the kids since he references himself 56 times, education and school only 29 times, and the country or nation a mere 10 times.


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Comments (44)

As Barry likes to say "It's... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

As Barry likes to say "It's not about ME."

Actually, I have no problem with Barry's speech to the kids. If nothing else, it can show what happens when a person gets a position based only on Affirmative Action.

It was not the speech, or e... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

It was not the speech, or even the IDEA of a speech to schoolchildren that got us (at least me) up in arms. It was the "material" handed out by the department of Edumacation beforehand.

"Why should we listen to the President?"
"What can you do to help the President?"

Things like that (no I am not quoting from a source).

That is what pushed it over the line of propriety. The students of our nation SHOULD respect and listen to the President. As long as he remains deserving of respect.

It's not Fascism when WE do... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

It's not Fascism when WE do it.

JustRuss - fully agree, yet... (Below threshold)

JustRuss - fully agree, yet the press is managing to distort this by only quoting the fringe nuts that say the speech will openly sell the kids on donating their organs to seniors or other nonsense instead of merely being part of a more subtle "lesson plan". also note that the schools are encouraged to get the kids to actually commit their school year to how they're "going to help Obama" (by writing down their 'goals' and handing them in to their teacher for review and keeping and earning rewards for meeting their 'goals' - not academic goals, mind you, but 'helping Obama' goals).

It's all a little too The Wave-ish for me...'but Johnny has set good goals for helping President Obama, Sally - don't you want to help the President, too and be rewarded with a pizza party in June? You can have this neat button to wear, too!'

The problem people had with... (Below threshold)
jim:

The problem people had with GHWB's speech was that it was actually trying to sell his policies.

This is the same problem that people had with GWB's speech to schoolkids, and Reagan's also.

I will note that there wasn't a furor raised **beforehand** - it was still considered that having the President speak to schoolkids was not a bad thing, in and of itself.

If memory serves, isn't it ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

If memory serves, isn't it true that Bush's speech was directed to his local audience only and that all school children across the nation were not urged to tune in? I can't say for certain, but I do not remember a nationwide push for all school children to listen to Bush, as is the case with Obama. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong.

"The problem people had wit... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"The problem people had with GHWB's speech was that it was actually trying to sell his policies."

If you care to research the speech, it was rather innocuous. What got libs knickers all twisted was when he took questions from the audience; the answers had political overtones. So it wasn't the speech itself.

Now, where the "questions" planted? You know, like at Barry's 'townhall meetings'.

I searched the records of o... (Below threshold)

I searched the records of our local paper to see what they had to say about Bush's speech in 1991.

After the speech there's a combined wire services report with some ho-hum details:

"President Bush renewed his warnings about a crisis in the nation's schools Tuesday, saying that the bells tolling on the traditional first day of classes across the country were sounding an alarm about the state of American education...

Bush seemed most intent on telling parents to participate more fully in their children's education, encouraging parents to spend more time with their children and to prompt them to read instead of watching television...

Both Bush and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander stressed the importance of community involvement in upgrading schools in an address to about 1,000 teachers, parents, school officials, civic leaders and incoming freshmen."

Two months later a columnist mentions that his speech was "controversial". But there is no mention of the controversy in the paper. The implication is that it was "controversial" because it asked kids and parents to make behavioral changes to improve their academic performance. Shocking, I know. More studying and less TV? What a nut.

The Volokh Conspiracy's got the text up and more on the coverage.

FYI - looks like the 'telev... (Below threshold)

FYI - looks like the 'televised' speech was a couple of days after the one I found covered in my local paper - looks like they never even mentioned the other one.

so much for a big to-do.

GWB may have spoken to scho... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

GWB may have spoken to schoolchildren but 1) It wasn't being shown around the country as a live telecast with discussion materials and 2)Bush hadn't been a part of an education foundation whose aim was to radicalize children.

No one seems to be talking about Obama's job as head of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)that he led with Bill Ayers. What was the point of the group? To use the schools to radicalize school children.

Here are two articles with great background about this:
WSJ Article about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122212856075765367.html

Michelle Malkin's Article
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/09/04/why-parents-don%E2%80%99t-trust-the-educator-in-chief-and-his-comrades/

Here's a couple of quotes from the WSJ article that should raise the hairs on your head. Bill Ayers "believes teacher education programs should serve as "sites of resistance" to an oppressive system."

And, as for the CAC that Obama was the leader of: "Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn)."

Every single thing that President Obama does needs to be scrutinized. The left is rabidly intent on their achieving their agenda and it includes indoctrinating our children.

TOhio,I think your l... (Below threshold)
Grace:

TOhio,
I think your line deserves to be repeated:
" Every single thing that President Obama does needs to be scrutinized. "

As the Alinsky handbook noted - overwhelm your opponents.

I am of the opinion that ev... (Below threshold)
jim:

I am of the opinion that every single thing ANY official does should be scrutinized. Of any party, or even of no party.

So, not for purpose of overwhelming opponents - but because no one with any power should just be trusted with that power. The Founding Fathers got that, among many other closely related things, brilliantly 100% right.

So please continue to scrutinize everything Obama does. Can we just separate the hypothetical from the actual?

"See kids, if you grow up a... (Below threshold)
914:

"See kids, if you grow up all educated like me. All full of hope for change. You to may have a chance, to destroy the American dream."

Yeah, he referenced "I" a n... (Below threshold)
BillO:

Yeah, he referenced "I" a number of times. As did St Ronnie Reagan when he spoke to kids about taxes, guns, and god.

In Reagans speech to kids, he failed to mention "education" or "Responsibility" or "parents" or "teachers".

i: 17

i'm: 3

i've: 3

i'd: 1

i'll: 1

school: 1

education: 0

responsibility: 0

country: 7

nation: 4

parents: 0

teacher/teachers : 0

So, either all presidents are egomaniacs, or word counts are just moronic. I'm goin with the latter considering the company.

I wonder what the original ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I wonder what the original speech was like before the controversy broke out?

The resulting speech really didn't fit with the questions and lesson plans originally given out without doing some far reaching.

One wingnut makes something... (Below threshold)
JOhn:

One wingnut makes something up and puts it on the internet and the rest of you take for the truth!There was no investigation into his speech, no hearings. They held an investigation about the funding of the even because it was clearly a political stunt and nothing more. You idiots are all outraged about what you imagined he might do or might say. How do you not see how foolish you look.

It just shows how modern ra... (Below threshold)
michael:

It just shows how modern rascism is at work. Wingnut crazy right wing crazies!

Obama's school dazed.... an... (Below threshold)

Obama's school dazed.... and confused

"There's no excuse for not trying..."
President Obama, National School Address, 9/8/2009

"...unless you're a Tea Party protester, a Town Hall protester, or any citizen organizing against my moderate plans to turn the United States into a quasi-socialist European Union womb to tomb welfare state with big government run medicine and fair 95% tax rates... then you can stop trying, and just SHUT THE EFF UP already peasants. Or does ACORN and the SSEIU need send around the loon goons for a teachable moment?"

And what, exactly do you an... (Below threshold)

And what, exactly do you and your fellow morons think Obama's politics and beliefs are? Either you are just parroting back all the vile lies that have been spewed by the right-wing, or you're just a racist looking for excuses to hate this president. The lesson that was going to accompany Obama's speech was for students to compose a letter TO THEMSELVES offering advice to President. It was a civics lesson and a way to get kids thinking about the problems we face. It did NOT ask the students to write a new Communist Manifesto or a treatise on the benefits of socialism. It did not ask them to support the President's health care reform ideas or his handling of the economy. You people have lost touch with the fact that you are actually part of this country and that President Obama is also YOUR president, trying to do things FOR YOU and your family. Your politics of self-destruction are going damage this country beyond repair if you don't take the tin-foil off your heads and act like thinking human beings. Counting the number of times a speaker says "I" is one of the most pathetic attempts to discredit a president that I have ever witnessed. It just shows how far many of you are willing to go in order to attack this president.

He needs to send in the goo... (Below threshold)
914:

He needs to send in the goons cause he isnt touching My kids with his brownshirt youth brigades.

If the Republicans or conse... (Below threshold)
marcus:

If the Republicans or conservatives ever expect to gain power again , they will have to start cooperating with others. This all or nothing attitude makes you seem very much the fanatic.
Too much has been done without the majority of Americans involved. Now that things are changing to something more in line with the mainstream, and yes we all really do believe you are waaaaay right, that you need to stop the constant criticism and start coming up with your own ideas and then work with us to get those through. You cannot simply whine and cry about what you don't like and not have any solutions. Bush got into power by constantly pointing fingers, and look at how bad things are because he DIDN'T have any solutions.

Folks.... it was a speech. No different from a hundred speeches given by a dozen Presidents to schoolchildren all over the country. Quit the crying and whining. Your president gave speeches about God and the education process. No one wanted it, but no cried like babies about it. Time to man-up and start being Americans.

Its more in line with the m... (Below threshold)
914:

Its more in line with the mainstream to enjoy 11,000,000,000,000 in new debt for our kids and their kids to be indebted with?

I dont think so buddy, but We will find out come the mid terms.

In the meantime I will disagree vehemently with all this big government being crammed down our throats..

Well, it goes to show you, ... (Below threshold)
Grey Fox:

Well, it goes to show you, political point making and stupidity are ancient. The current stupidity (and downright thuggery) is not excused by the past, I'm sorry to inform you. Unless a president comes out and starts recruiting for some extremist youth group or advocates having students drink til they're sloshed before class, I'd say he has a right to address the children of today. Frankly, this has gotten beyond silly to just hard core intimidation by those who don't like Obama. Spin about the hysterical fears of the 'conservatives' doesn't help...it makes it feel even more mendacious. I hope, if a GOP president faces the same situation in the future, that they have to waltz through a phoney firestorm too. Just to feel how idiotic and nasty it really is.

I think Bush just did for 8... (Below threshold)
914:

I think Bush just did for 8 years Grey Fox.

"...if a GOP president face... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...if a GOP president faces the same situation in the future, that they have to waltz through a phoney firestorm too."

Hey Grey Fox, you just wake up? Bush '41 got "INVESTIGATED" by the Democratic majority for the speech he gave to students. But that's okay, drink your kool aid and go back to sleep.

Kudos Marcus and JohnRJ08.<... (Below threshold)
GOP: The internal terrorists:

Kudos Marcus and JohnRJ08.

The internal terrorists would much rather tear down than try to build up. They need a target like the 'old' USSR to focus on, and now that the cold war is over they have nothing to focus their anger on. They all need a constructive hobby (how about being a city planner or volunteer their time to help teach the school children to respect themselves and strive for something greater in this country).
The right wing nut-jobs can try to use their propaganda and slander to bring down the US too!!
But we must not allow them to succeed.

Kudos Marcus and JohnRJ08 a... (Below threshold)
Sockpuppet:

Kudos Marcus and JohnRJ08 and GOP. Your sockpuppetry is unsurpassed.

"If the Republicans or cons... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"If the Republicans or conservatives ever expect to gain power again , they will have to start cooperating with others."

Oh, is that anything like the COOPERATION Nancy sought when writing Porkulus? Was that the COOPERATION Barry sought when he said "I won". Was that the COOPERATION Reid sought in saying "We don't need them."

That kind of COOPERATION?

Remember when "dissent was patriotic"? When Bush was Hitler? You fucking dimwitted assholes. Go drink your kool aid and give Barry another blow job.

Anyone else ever notice how... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Anyone else ever notice how similar SAUD, VIC and now GTIT are in their posts?

Just out of curiosity, Kevin, are they all from the same IP or same subnet? I could well be wrong, but the similarities in tone and phrasing are striking.

From the Article:"... (Below threshold)
Jman:

From the Article:

"Republicans could very well argue that the president's speech today is nothing more than a PR stunt designed to promote himself rather that inspire the kids"

It could very well be that; like any speech from any politician at any time. But that's not what they're arguing. They're screaming hysterically about "indoctrination", and "socialism", and all sorts of other paranoid delusions.

Who knows what The Won had ... (Below threshold)

Who knows what The Won had it in mind to say in his address to students nationwide? Before he got nailed on the whole idea. The point is that he was interfering with the schools - which technically are not in his province. And I would submit that these kinds of nationwide addresses are improper whether made by the Dems or the Pubbies. The schools are the province of the individual states and none of anyone else's concern! In point of fact, a number of Virginia counties chose to avail themselves of the opportunity to opt out and did so (yay for Stafford and Loudon counties).

Let's face it - we need to let our president know that a sleeping giant has been awakened and we are watching him like a hawk!

Anybody who attempts to com... (Below threshold)

Anybody who attempts to compare what is going now with past criticisms of Republican presidents is on crack. The Democratic Party has been guilty of gross partisanship in the past. There is no question about that. But what is happening now is an erosion of respect for the office of the President of the United States. And the reason for that is that so many of you have eagerly embraced some absolutely ridiculous statements about President Obama. You stack one lie and half-truth on top of another, and then stand back and say "There! This is why I don't trust Obama." I don't recall ever seeing such ignorant rage being directed at the White House. Maybe back when Nixon was bombing Cambodia, or Jimmy Carter sent that botched rescue mission to Tehran. What we're seeing now is just slightly veiled racism.

Read the article below<br /... (Below threshold)
TxRancher:

Read the article below

"http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13249171?_requestid=5883011"

then watch this video

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqcPA1ysSbw"

Then ask yourself why would anyone want elementary school children to view this video since most of the things these adult celebrities pledge are out of the reach of 5-12 year old children. This is why people didn't trust Obama to speak to their children until they saw the text of the speech. When the text was released, most of the protesting disappeared. Demi Moore can keep her Indecent Proposal to herself!

Additionally, selecting Van Jones (a black racist, Black Panther member, & self described communist) as the Green Jobs czar is another decision that places doubt in most American's minds.

"http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/02/white-house-green-jobs-adviser-republicans-assholes/"

"http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the_new_face_of_environmentalism/Content?oid=290098&showFullText=true"

"The Democratic Party has b... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"The Democratic Party has been guilty of gross partisanship in the past. There is no question about that. But what is happening now is an erosion of respect for the office of the President of the United States."

And when did this 'disrespect' start John?

"I don't recall ever seeing such ignorant rage being directed at the White House."

You been fucking SLEEPING for the last 8 years?

"They're screaming hysteric... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"They're screaming hysterically about "indoctrination", and "socialism", and all sorts of other paranoid delusions."

Read the original "educational packet" that was put out by those wonderful people at the Dept of Education:

'Discuss why we should listen to our president, and other government leaders'

"Write a letter to yourself on how you will support the president."

Later these were 'modified' as they were judged to be "inartful" in their composition.

If you cannot see the problems with the above, I'd suggest you lay off the kool aid for awhile.

GarandFan -Guess J... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

GarandFan -

Guess John's related to Rip Van Winkle, but instead of 20 years he had his alarm set for 8.

I fully agree with you - the last 8 years the Dems did everything they could to erode respect for Bush - and he took it like a man, figuring that history would show whether he was right or wrong instead of depending on up-to-the-minute polling data.

I sure as hell wish Obama would show as much class.

I don't recall eve... (Below threshold)
Eric:
I don't recall ever seeing such ignorant rage being directed at the White House.

Then you weren't paying attention for the previous 8 years. Or the 8 years prior to that. I don't remember Bill Clinton getting any more love than Obama from the right. And the left wasn't very loving of Reagan when he was in office. This country has a long history of incendiary political rhetoric, going back to the founding of the country.

What we're seeing now is just slightly veiled racism.

Are you saying that any opinion contrary to Obama's is racist? Therefore any speech that criticizes Obama is racist speech and .... Well what next?

So pray tell what should the country do about all of this racist speech? Should we just go ahead and scratch out the First Amendment, pass some hate speech laws and round up anyone who disagrees with Obama? Is that the solution?

How about put our fingers in our ears, and call any criticism of Obama racist so we don't need to offer any counter arguments anymore? That seems to be the Democrats' answer.

Again, anybody who compares... (Below threshold)

Again, anybody who compares what is going on now with the treatment of George W. Bush during his 8 years in office is on crack. Even after Bush invaded Iraq without any real proof of WMDs, he wasn't accused of being a dictator who was out to destroy the Constitution. Nobody would have kept their child home form school if Bush spoke, unless they were afraid their kid mibht pick up poor public speaking habits. Bush's nadir was 2006, when many Republicans were voted out of office and the Iraq was proving to be such a mess. Still, I don't recall anybody saying that he was a threat to the republic.

Clearly, not all people who disagree with Obama are racists. Only those who take the discussion to an emotional level and reject any fact that doesn't validate their opinion. You can have a difference of opinion with someone, yet still respect them. The total lack of respect, honesty and willingness to listen is completely absent in most people who post belligerent remarks about the President, and those people are probably racists. If the shoe fits...

johnRJ08In case you ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

johnRJ08
In case you have been asleep here are some of many, many links.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/opinion/14sun1.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Also how about Berkeley trying to impeach Bush for defiling the constitution.

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2006-06-30/article/24510?headline=Presidential-Impeachment-Measure-on-November-Ballot&status=301

In case you need video proof.

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/videos.php/2007/06/28/lawmakers_rip_bush_cheney_for_shredding

Are you one of those as you said "Only those who take the discussion to an emotional level and reject any fact that doesn't validate their opinion" or are you man enough to admit the facts that don't help your agenda?

"I don't recall anybody say... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"I don't recall anybody saying that he was a threat to the republic."

Odd. Here in sunny liberal Southern Kalifornia all the talk in the local paper's letter section was how Bush/Cheney/Haliburton was going to declare a national emergency and suspend the constitution and cancel the 2008 election.

Then there was the backlash to the Patriot Act and how Bush/Cheney/Haliburton was violating everyone's privacy and listening in on their phone calls, internet chat, what books they read at the library, etc etc etc.

John, have you even been conscious the last 8 years?

johnR - "Still, I don't... (Below threshold)
Marc:

johnR - "Still, I don't recall anybody saying that he was a threat to the republic."

And your preferred type of long-term sedative is what?

"President Bush's conception of his own powers is even more dangerous than his specific abuses."

"George W. Bush's presidency is another era of overreaction at the expense of constitutional rights, but the prospects for a quick correction are not auspicious."

You're not only a nitwit, but a blind one as well.

Not to mention a history revisionist.

Seminar posters alert! Left... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Seminar posters alert! Lefty loons. ww

johnRJO8We cant di... (Below threshold)
914:

johnRJO8

We cant discuss things with any emotions dipshit?

If the shoe fits...... Blow it outta your ass.

BillORead the Spee... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

BillO

Read the Speech.
It was about America,
( American Government, American History, American Culture, American Politics and our position in the world)
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/111488c.hm

Now if anyone does not Bring up Taxes with American History, They forget about the Boston Tea Party. Of course Libs will say with "Taxes I buy Civilization"
Denying that Taxes can ever be overly burdensome.

After his speech he answered Questions.
Now remember at that time ever questions, students asked were on the nightly news and in magazines.





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