September 8, 2009

When President George H.W. Bush gave a speech to school children, congressional Democrats denounced him...

"... 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."

103 comments:

Dark Eden said...

But but but Ann... Bush is a REPUBLICAN!

MadisonMan said...

I would venture to guess that school children then where just as bored as school children today.

אלוהים said...

so you're saying the democrats were right to protest?

Montagne Montaigne said...

Everything done to Republicans while they had power should now be done to Democrats. Then Democrats will lose power and will then assume the role of petty crazed attackers of Republicans. Then Republicans will lose power and become crazy attackers again. Then Democrats will lose majorities and become small-bore snipers of Republicans. Giggity giggity giggity goo.

Well, it's good to know that all the high-minded rhetoric from conservatives in favor of decorum and comity when it comes to attacks on the president were utter hypocrisy in 2002, like democrats' hurt feelings today are hypocritical. We are all hypocrites. Great.

Take this to heart and save yourself the trouble of reading the next 3 years of Instapundit posts.

traditionalguy said...

There was a 1992 re-election campaign coming up. The Committee Investigations hard-ball was a method taken for granted in that time when the Democrats still held Congress and the Republicans had held the White House for 12 years. As everyone knows any hardball played against President Obama must come from the free speech on the internet and talk radio, at least until our Rulers make that an illegal activity, as Chavez in Venezuela has advised they need to do.

former law student said...

I was all set to write Rep. Ford a stinging letter of rebuke till I found out he's buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Chase said...

`

Ahem (cough, clearing of throat)

Already posted about this in your comments last Friday here Ann:

(You're welcome)

DEMS BLAST BUSH 41 SCHOOL SPEECH

From the Washington Post, published Friday, October 4, 1991:

Democrats assailed the Bush Administration today for spending $26,750 in taxpayer money to hire a production company that oversaw President Bush's telecast from an eighth-grade classroom here to schoolchildren around the country on Tuesday. The money came from the Education Department's salary and expense budget. As a result, Representative William D. Ford, the Michigan Democrat who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, demanded that Education Secretary Lamar Alexander appear before the committee to defend his "spending scarce education dollars to produce a media event." And the House majority leader, Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, said, "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the President." The President's spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, responded by denying that Mr. Bush's talk to the schoolchildren had been a political event and calling the criticism "nonsense."

hdhouse said...

get a life. mr. bush's message was excellent - very much like president obama's. (http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/public_papers.php?id=3450&year=1991&month=10).

i'm sorry that the kids at the school were used as props but that stuff happens during an election year...as was the democratic response.

however the consternation was about use of government funds not the crap/smear brainwashing that is hurled about now.

Aaron said...

Mmm, i think two things on that. first the dems were being as silly on this as republicans--maybe slightly more so.

Second, bush's speech was assuredly more of a waste of time. Bush saying "stay in school" probably if anything made it seem even more nerdy.

That being said, the only thing to say about republicans this time in their favor, is that Obama and his supporters do have a creepy cult of personality thing going on, with singing children and marching teenagers chanting "yes we can."

mccullough said...

Who was a better student, H.W. Bush or Obama?

Henry said...

hd - thanks for the link.

"Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. in a classroom at the school. His remarks were broadcast live by the Cable News Network, the Public Broadcasting System, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and the NBC radio network. In his remarks, he referred to Cynthia Mostoller, an eighth grade humanities teacher; Rachel Rusch, a student; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness; principal Reginald R. Moss; and custodian George Francis. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness?

Kids, don't let anyone tell you that physical education is not important.

jr565 said...

Aaron wrote:
Mmm, i think two things on that. first the dems were being as silly on this as republicans--maybe slightly more so.

Maybe more so!? The democrats held hearings on Bush's speech.
Did the republicans or will the republicans even suggest they would hold hearings on this? And the issue from the republican standpoint has not been the speech itself. It was the accompanying materials that seemed to be an attempt to push Obama's administrative goals on them in an untoward manner. Noone suggested taht he shouldn't be allowed to speek to kids and no subsequent hearings will be held.

But yes, democrats are definitely hypocrites on this. As if that is at all unusual at this point.

Chip Ahoy said...

Per the Department of Education's extension of the speech portion produced by the Teaching Ambassador Fellows, an obviously conservative think-tank, the poster I would draw of my goals would be in the Egyptian style according to Middle Kingdom canon, depicting me as pharaoh with holders of high office all drawn and painted on a black horizontal line holding in their arms various offerings, as well-dressed servants, with a table piled high with various offerings pretty much all in pictorial hieroglyphic forms.

Then I'd rip the poster into sections and reassemble it as a puzzle with small missing chunks, then antique it to make it appear as if it had been removed from an ancient wall.

That's what I'd do.

Then I'd write a letter to myself reminding myself that the political and ritualized role of a pharaoh is chiefly religious; by symbology of ritual to act as the representative on Earth of the gods to the population, and as mediator for the population to the gods.

As pharaoh, I'd instruct my land-owners to assemble their populations to clean up the banks of the nile, which always leaves such a mess after the annual flood. Then I'd provide soldiers to protect them from crocodiles and hippopotamuses while they are working, picking up Mcdonalds cups and wrappers, Taco Bell styrofoam containers and such. The roads too, but they're all dirt roads anyway and not all that messy, except for the donkey poop.

That's what I'd do to satisfy the community organizing portion of the lesson.

I'd get an 'A,' and I'd be the teacher's pet, who would tenderly wipe the brown off my little nose with a tissue.

garage mahal said...

So Democrats criticized Bush I for using taxpayer money, and Republicans today called Obama Hitler and Mao trying to indoctrinate a communist socialist message to schoolchildren. One of these things is not like the other.

Revenant said...

i'm sorry that the kids at the school were used as props but that stuff happens during an election year...as was the democratic response.

Was that sentence supposed to be in English? Just curious.

LarsPorsena said...

"...however the consternation was about use of government funds not the crap/smear brainwashing that is hurled about now."

Is BO doing this on his own dime?
No government funds involved?
Not likely.

David said...

mccullough said...
Who was a better student, H.W. Bush or Obama?

We have no idea since Obama's grades have never been revealed. In fact virtually nothing is known about what he studied or did at Columbia. Nor do we know his grades at Harvard Law School.

Bush=Yale, Harvard. Obama=Columbia, Harvard. Looks good on paper.

Both had a potential leg up in admissions. Bush as a legacy and via family connections, Obama by racial preference. Turns out their legs up were used pretty well, since both became President.

fred said...

I have not been following this very closely. Who paid for the Obama speech? Dept of Ed did for Bush, and that was questioned. Obama speech questioned beforehand; Bush, after.
It would seem that there is now a convention, a pattern, of president's speaking at school. Accept it and move on.

Keep your kid out of school if you want. That is still a choice in our nation.

Freeman Hunt said...

Well, well. I bet their views have "evolved."

AF said...

The Democrats were wrong in 1991 and the Republicans are wrong in 2009.

Leland said...

So Democrats criticized Bush I for using taxpayer money, and Republicans today called Obama Hitler and Mao trying to indoctrinate a communist socialist message to schoolchildren. One of these things is not like the other.

Indeed, one is documented as actually occurring. The other is made up BS.

wv: mabition The desire of dyslexic people to achieve.

Jeremy said...

Notice the immediate upward surge in standardized testing results following George HW Bush's speech (Fig A) and the corresponding uptick in graduation pcts (Fig B). We can expect a similar boost following Obama's insightful remarks, I'm sure. The lesson here is that marginal students simply need a pep talk from an Important Person to turn their lives around. That'll do the trick!

-The Other Jeremy

Leland said...

I wonder if anyone called the 1991 investigation a racial act?

garage mahal said...

Indeed, one is documented as actually occurring. The other is made up BS..

Democrats didn't criticize Bush for using taxpayer funds?

Sloanasaurus said...

The difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush did not spend his first 8 months trying to drastically increase the power of the federal government.

I am looking forward to the next president who returns the country to normalcy. We have already had too much hope and change. It's very depressing.

Obama is permanently dividing the country by attempting to pass health reform along partisan lines. Even Bush got half the democrats in the Senate to vote for the Iraq war.

Passage of this bill will cause permanent splits in friendships and families over the direction of the country and the future. It is very sad.

Slow Joe said...

Without a doubt, Obama has spent more tax money on partisan purposes and posturing. Acorn has gotten billions. Imagine if the NRA got billions of dollars from the federal government. Or if Rush Limbaugh was one of Bush's 'czars' (since Rush is clearly less extreme that a lot of Obama's current and former senior psuedo cabinet).

I'm glad Obama's speech appears to have been a good thing. But all the fuss and posturing and mistakes make it clear Obama's just not ready to lead. those assignments for our kids... the ones embarrassingly canceled? Why didn't some leader delegate responsibility for avoiding that? Half the stuff Obama plans, from hiring whackos to little details, is undone before execution.

The democrats should have nominated a leader instead of a fashion statement. A Dick Gephart or even a Martin Frost would have been able to actually do the job.

Pogo said...

Montagne Montaigne said... "We are all hypocrites. Great."

Well, I have always been a slow learner, but adopting the left's methods is all that remains, isn't it? Once the high road becomes the one less traveled by, that made all the difference.

Now no one plays by Queensberry rules, but by Rules for Radicals. Every fight is by the Alinsky process, so every fight is vicious.

Enjoy what you have created.
"Rule 4. Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

Just wait for what happens when number 9 is engaged by the right.
"Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. "

Pogo said...

The Ayers corollary to Rule 9 is ...but not always.

Kurt said...

To answer your question, mcculloch, as far as academic performance goes, George H.W. Bush was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale. So he clearly did well in school.

If Obama had been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (or any other honor societies) at Columbia, he would have made sure everyone knew. So it's a safe bet that the elder Bush was the better student. We only know that Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, but anyone who has followed the stories about grade inflation at Harvard should be aware that half his law school class may have graduated Magna Cum Laude, as well.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm want to live in boring times with a boring President. The less everyone has to worry about politics all the time, the better.

Freeman Hunt said...

I, even.

bearbee said...

Hypocrisy thy name is Politician.

pinkmonkeybird said...

Perhaps things will regain proper perspective when the coming grassroots uprising brings a true reformist government back to Washington and rightfully abolishes the Dept. of Education.

Triangle Man said...

rightfully abolishes the Dept. of Education.

Naturally, since universal education having been the scourge of our society all these years.

bagoh20 said...

Hell then, you would think we could all agree these type of addresses are either good or bad.

I bet a blogger could get an argument out of any post about anything, anytime with the right following.

"That ain't working.
That's the way they do it.
Get your money for nuthin'
Get your Meads for free"

Roger J. said...

Seems to me that the evidence is clear that president's talk to school children is totally within the bounds of propriety--even if the dems of the 90s didnt see it that way.--where the evidence tends to diverge is the role the US Dept of Education plays in providing curriculum for these speeches. If one of our drooling libs can cite curriculum suggestions for Bush 41 I might listen. I would like the slobbering libs here to address the differences between how Bush and Obama used their depts of ed to support the presidential effort to bore kids.

And i think there are some actual, you know, fact that tend to make Obama a bit more suspect in his "outreach" programs:
1. his "outreach" to the NEA to create art which one could argue is supportive of obama policies

2. The white house flag program to report "rumors"

3. The initial DOED curriculum to schools to help president obama (until it blew up in their faces)

4. The not at all vetted van jones

Now any one of those individually could be explained away by a glib press secretary and an even more vapid but glib president--taken in total, however, it does seem a bit more, ahem, assertive in terms of pushing an agenda.

jr565 said...

Garage mahal wrote:
So Democrats criticized Bush I for using taxpayer money, and Republicans today called Obama Hitler and Mao trying to indoctrinate a communist socialist message to schoolchildren. One of these things is not like the other.

Again Garage, they didn't simply criticize. They conducted hearings to "get to the bottom" of Bush's wrongdoing. In other words went out of their way to politicize the event and try to get Bush because of it.
As for Republicans calling Obama Hitler, are you kidding me? I would think, what with the lefts predilection for calling Bush Hitler at every turn for the past 8 years, that you'd have no problem with such attacks. What about speaking truth to power and all that?

AJ Lynch said...

Freeman:

That is a very good goal. It is very tiresome and divisive for Americans to hear the presidents name every damn day on the radio or TV. It has been that way since when Clinton was president?

Skyler said...

I think a lot of people forget that Bush I was castigated by most conservatives for growing government, especially the department of education. I didn't like Bush I, I didn't like Bush II, and I especially don't like B. Hussein because each of them have thought it a reasonable thing to do to grow the government into areas that are none of its business.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because Bush I did it, doesn't excuse B. Hussein for doing it.

Big Mike said...

@Freeman, I'm with you on that. Right now I think a candidate pledging a return to "normalcy" would carry 47 or 48 states.

It's only been 8 months but the DWAINE types (Democrats wildly indignant about nearly everything) have gone past grating to "can we put them on an ice floe instead of Grandma"?

Aaron said...

btw, this is officially the speech i wish obama gave, via scrapple face:

Obama will urge kids to go to private school

A draft copy of President Barack Obama's planned September 8 address to America's public school children, tells students that "If you want to grow up to be like me, you should beg your parents to put you in private school, right now."

Although Obama attended public school in Indonesia early in life, he soon switched to a private Catholic school, and from fifth grade through graduation went to a private college-prep school in Hawaii. His own daughters now attend a private school in Washington D.C..

"Do you think you're going to get into Harvard University with your one-size-fits-all public school diploma?" the president will reportedly say. "Come on! Don't make me laugh. You'll be lucky to survive through graduation. Seriously, you gotta get out of this mediocrity machine. Go ahead! Get up right now. Run for the door. What are you waiting for?"

While the White House would not confirm the content of the leaked speech draft, a spokesman acknowledged that "You don't get to be as smart and cool as Barack Obama by sitting in P.S. 152, listening to some union lackey droning on, and then eating government surplus in the cafeteria."

On Tuesday, the president will bypass parents, taking his message directly to kids in the classroom "in hopes that you'll pester Mom until she gets a second job to pay private-school tuition so you can escape the swirling vortex of ignorance and despair that is our government-run school system."

"The only thing standing between you and success," the president will allegedly say, "is the mentality that the government will take care of you. Once you shake that, there's no limit to your achievement. Pay any price. Bear any burden. Just get your fanny out of that fiberglass chair, go buy yourself an Oxford shirt, a pair of slacks and a clip-on tie, and go to a place that faces constant economic pressure to improve."

Skyler said...

Triangle Man wrote:

Naturally, since universal education having been the scourge of our society all these years.

That a comment like this can be made so blithely is an indicator that people no longer even understand the Constitution and limited federal power. Education is not a federal concern. It had always been very strictly a state and local level concern, mostly until Bush I did a massive expansion of the DOE with his "compassionate conservatism" which as we know is only a euphemism for socialism for republican causes, as opposed to socialism for democrat causes.

elHombre said...

Montagne Montaigne wrote...
Everything done to Republicans while they had power should now be done to Democrats. Then Democrats will lose power and will then, blah, blah, blah ....

Here's Montagne pretending to be someone who laments hypocricy in politics instead doing his usual partisan left wing hack thing.

Of course, it is a libertarian, not a lefty, website he dumps on at the end, isn't it?

MadisonMan said...

Democrats wildly indignant about nearly everything)

There are just as many wildly indignant Republicans. Witness the reaction to a bland speech given to bored schoolchildren.

(Not disagreeing with your point, just noting that it's unnecessarily narrow)

I hope when the Dept. of Edumacation is abolished, the Dept. of Homeland Security goes away with it.

Scott M said...

To begin with, I've always maintained that if Reagan and Bush required students to watch, it's just as bad. It was the mandatory requirement that creeped me out. That and the fact that the text of the speech wasn't given until the day before it was delivered. I highly doubt, much like the revised lesson plan, it was the original text, pre-hubbub.

The main takeaway I'm getting from this speech (and from what I've read of the text, it was a pretty decent message) is what the black talking heads are up in arms about now.

When Obama spoke to the NAACP and gave a Cosby-esque speech that included earnest (I thought) messages about personal responsibility. That is apparently a hot-button now in the black activist community and they see it now as a racists code word. I remember two different commentators on Sirius Left, one of which was nearly unhinged he was so mad. In fact, he let slip the comment that "I know we're not supposed to criticize Obama because he's a brother" which just removes all pretense of rational debate, imho.

This personal responsibility message to the children will meet with similar resistance from the same crowd.

AJ Lynch said...

If Obama had balls, he'd sacrifice the Dept of Education and its entire budget [$100 billion a year] in exchange for a health care bill.

But liberals are incapable of making choices. They think the govt can miraculously even out all things for everyone.

Pogo said...

"They think the govt can miraculously even out all things for everyone."

Yes, it's like the theater where they believe the play will come out fine in the end, no matter how bad the rehearsals are.

The Democratic administration is like a bureaucratic version of Waiting for Guffman.

elHombre said...

hdhouse wrote: however the consternation was about use of government funds not the crap/smear brainwashing that is hurled about now.

garage wrote: Democrats criticized Bush I for using taxpayer money, and Republicans today called Obama Hitler and Mao trying to indoctrinate a communist socialist message to school children. One of these things is not like the other.

One guy was not like the other.

The Hitler/Mao stuff is nonsense and probably invented by garage. Otherwise, I'd say both Bush's and Obama's critics were pretty much right on.


WV "puzwli" = Yiddish/English slang, as in, "She blushed as he flashed his puzwli!"

Steven said...

There are just as many wildly indignant Republicans. Witness the reaction to a bland speech given to bored schoolchildren.

Baseless assumption made here: The speech was always planned to be this bland, instead of having been made bland in reaction to the outrage.

Sure, the indignant reaction was disproportionate (and I said so previously). But it was about a speech of then-unknown content, which for all any of us knowmay have been changed in reaction to the reaction.

Jeremy said...

bagoh20 said, "I bet a blogger could get an argument out of any post about anything, anytime with the right following."

No way. And I'll have words with anyone who disagrees, you ignorant slut.

-The Other Jeremy

former law student said...

If Obama had been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (or any other honor societies) at Columbia, he would have made sure everyone knew. So it's a safe bet that the elder Bush was the better student.

It's still speculation that the elder Bush was the better student. First, are transfer students eligible for Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia? Obama competed with Columbia students only for two years -- it's not a fair competition. Second, at the time GHW started Yale, higher education was for the aristocracy, not the meritocracy. When returning GIs began taking advantage of the GI Bill in large numbers competition for grades became a lot tougher. As a late Boomer, Obama competed with a lot more students to get into the top schools.

Obama's magna cum laude diploma meant that his grade average put him in the top ten percent of Harvard Law, but not the top one percent (summa).


We only know that Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, but anyone who has followed the stories about grade inflation at Harvard should be aware that half his law school class may have graduated Magna Cum Laude, as well.

Slow Joe said...

It's clear Obama backtracked on his speech's ambitions. All those horrible questions about 'why should you worship your president' were removed, and of course, the speech didn't allude to these points at all.

The speech was changed, thanks to the right wing holding Obama to the fire. Obama's not half the leader he'd need to be to stand up and not let the right walk all over him. That's why he's short another czar and this speech was a huge mess for him.

Slow Joe said...

Obama wasn't in the top ten percent in law school. He got on law review because they advocate affirmative action. It's not too uncommon on law reviews to do so, sadly.

Harvard is supposed to be a very challenging place, and it's a shame they cast doubt on the accomplishments of minorities by leaving AA in long past acceptance into school.

If you are a minority and need to prove yourself, you need to get a great clerkship. Law review and admission to harvard, shockingly, don't do the trick.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Here are excerpts from the new and improved lesson plans. And, here's my lesson plan:

* Given that most teachers are probably BHO supporters, can you imagine what the walls of most classrooms are going to look like?

* Aren't marketeers from, say, General Mills eating their hearts out in jealousy that they can't get teachers to have their students post cards saying things like, "Toucan Sam wants me to brush after every meal"?

Prism Trading School said...

former law student said...
If Obama had been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (or any other honor societies) at Columbia, he would have made sure everyone knew. So it's a safe bet that the elder Bush was the better student.....

followed the stories about grade inflation at Harvard should be aware that half his law school class may have graduated Magna Cum Laude, as well."

oh golly gosh. first if you use that logic in the first paragraph in a courtroom...well good luck....

and to thought (sic!) #2, Bush's (the junior) C's are pure proof of inflation. Columbia was the easiest school I ever went to.

Shanna said...

I hope when the Dept. of Edumacation is abolished, the Dept. of Homeland Security goes away with it.

From your mouth to gods ears.

bagoh20 said...

"No way. And I'll have words with anyone who disagrees, you ignorant slut."

Clearly you know nothing - I'm an ignorant whore. No free lunch.

Revenant said...

"rightfully abolishes the Dept. of Education."

Naturally, since universal education having been the scourge of our society all these years.

The Department of Education was created in 1979.

Raise your hand if you think we didn't have universal public education prior to 1979.

Just Lurking said...

None of this type of over-the-top opposition is new. Only an idiot is surprised that any politician has vociferous opponents. It's the nature of politics.

What IS new, is trying to act as if today's opposition is based on hate and racism, instead of what it is really about: ideological differences. So much for the talk of a post-racial presidency.

Dissent, which for the left was patriotic under W, is now called hate speech and paranoia. There are many sane sensible people who disagree with O based on differences in ideology. But Obama and his supporters in the media will highlight only the kooks in order to drown out and delegitimize the loyal opposition.

It's a joke, and it won't work. Dismissing the opposition as kooks only works when the opposition numbers are small. O's dropping polls show this game isn't working.

If O wants to retain and/or regain the public trust, he is the one that needs to start listening. But will his big ego ever allow it?

Kurt said...

Actually, formerlawstudent, at Harvard in 1991, I'm sure magna cum laude meant whatever they decided they wanted it to mean. Unless you have the law school's criteria for the honor in that year, I'm holding with my theory that way more than 10% of the the law school's graduates received that honor.

In 2001, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 91% of Harvard graduates had graduated with honors of cum laude or better. When this information got out, the University set out in 2002 to change the manner in which latin honors were figured and distributed. The changes went into effect with the class of 2005.

On the other hand, I suspect those changes only had to do with students at Harvard College. The Chronicle article didn't specify how honors were distributed in the law school or how they were figured.

former law student said...

Obama wasn't in the top ten percent in law school.

At Harvard Law School, graduating "Magna Cum Laude" means your grades placed you in the top ten percent. I don't know how to be clearer than that.

oh golly gosh. first if you use that logic in the first paragraph in a courtroom...well good luck....

those were meant to be quotes from other commenters. I suck at html today.

former law student said...

Unless you have the law school's criteria for the honor in that year, I'm holding with my theory that way more than 10% of the the law school's graduates received that honor.

Fine. You can believe any damn fool thing you'd like. Similarly, I can't prove the Earth was round in 1991, so you're free to believe it was flat at that time.

former law student said...

The Department of Education was created in 1979.

Republicans would be shocked, shocked to realize that Ike created its predecessor, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in 1953. (The administration drafted a bill, and Congress passed it.)

Aaron said...

Prism, FLS,

Really, this is childish. Getting to Harvard means Obama is "smart enough" at least in the law. no one is calling him a dummy in general. but i will call him incompetant on all matters of economics, and administration, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have been an absolutely brilliant lawyer. heck he probably would have been a great senator (political differences aside) if he just stuck at it. But only a nutjob thinks that obama is generally dumb. just on the stuff that matters to doing the job he currently holds.

There, feel better?

Fred4Pres said...

Some children just make you proud.


Never give up, never surrender!

traditionalguy said...

My thinking about President Obama's "Talk to all school children" is that Fascism comes as a Three Legged Stool: (1)Take over of industries by the Leader's appoimtees, and (2) Thugs regularly attacking opposition leaders and (3) a Cult of Personality surrounding the Leader. In Bush in 1991, there was no 1 and no 2, and 3 was not even possible. But when Obama has recently done 1 and 2, then when he begins the spread of his great talent for 3 among our school age children, then it is time to react while we still have time.

Just Lurking said...

From my previous comment:
"But Obama and his supporters in the media will highlight only the kooks in order to drown out and delegitimize the loyal opposition."

I should say, will highlight the kooks and alleged kooks. Some of the so-called kooks have legitimate gripes and are misrepresented.

Like the people who objected to the creepy "dear-leader" letter campaign. The message is slanted to portray them as paranoid about Obama talking to their kids. In actuality they disapproved of, and prevented the administration from engaging in political indoctrination of children. Did the Repubs ever do this? It wouldn't surprise me if they did. Still wouldn't make it right for O to do it.

m.a. said...

There's enough hypocrisy to go around - why didn't the Republicans make a big deal back then? Why did the Democrats call for an investigation then and now? Those questions are beside the point on this though. When it all comes down to it, in both instances the President of the United States was speaking to the kids! How cool is that?! 15 seconds, 15 minutes. I'm glad both presidents did it. Perhaps my signin name should be Pollyanna.

Ralph L said...

he'd sacrifice the Dept of Education and its entire budget [$100 billion a year] in exchange for a health care bill.
And defund his base? No, it will come out of defense--those people vote Republican.

GHWB went to Yale after the war, in an accelerated 3 year degree program for vets, IIRC.

pasmike - what eventually happens if you hog the microphone like a politician.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

Slow Joe says: Obama wasn't in the top ten percent in law school. He got on law review because they advocate affirmative action. It's not too uncommon on law reviews to do so, sadly. Harvard is supposed to be a very challenging place, and it's a shame they cast doubt on the accomplishments of minorities by leaving AA in long past acceptance into school. If you are a minority and need to prove yourself, you need to get a great clerkship. Law review and admission to harvard, shockingly, don't do the trick.

Actually, Obama was in the top 10% of his class, and President of the Law Review. You don't get either of those things except by merit, and in the latter case, the respect of many of your peers. Also, I suspect you really aren't the type of person that anyone, minority or not, needs to prove himself to, and your knowledge of what goes on at HLS is limited to what you've seen while watching "Legally Blonde" on late night cable with the sound turned off.

Stephen said...

traditionalguy said...

"My thinking about President Obama's "Talk to all school children" is that Fascism comes as a Three Legged Stool: (1) Take over of industries by the Leader's appoi[n]tees, and (2) Thugs regularly attacking opposition leaders and (3) a Cult of Personality surrounding the Leader."

I'm sorry, but this kind of statement is the reason that Fascism has no definitional meaning anymore. First of all, there are no government employees on GM's board of directors, and day to day decisions are not made by the government. Let's not forget that the government that owns 60% of GM's stock happens to be ours, and it's ownership of those shares does not mean Obama has total control of an industry. We do have these things called checks and balances, and to call this straight up Fascism is just silly. While this takeover sets a bad precedent, it was done in and because of the extreme environment we find ourselves in today. Remember, this is neither a time of peace or prosperity. Furthermore, the auto industry takeover is much closer to Socialism than Fascism, if you want to call it a nasty word.

This is not meant to be a defense of the takeover, I'm no supporter of this tactic, but I can't stand this hyperbolic use of words like Fascism. It drains the word of all it's meaning, and distracts us from the real problems with the policy.

As for step #2, in which "thugs regularly attacking opposition leaders" I chafe at how obtuse this statement is. You could apply this to almost any liberal who is critical of the opposition today, and almost any conservative who was critical of the opposition over the last 8 years. The fact is that we do not have brown shirts beating down the opposition at town halls, or anywhere else. In fact, almost everybody who has something to say, one way or the other, has been allowed to say it. Criticism of the opposition does is not equal to suppression of dissent.

#3 just kills me every time I hear it. I guess nobody remembers the fawning over Bush 43 the right enjoyed for a while. But that's oblique to the point. Look at the polls as they stand these days. See the town halls. Read the news. What cult are you talking about?

The point is that you can accuse any modern POTUS of fascism with this metric. You’d have to change #1 around a bit, just to stay topical (for example, rendition, torture, FISA etc.) but all in all this is a very easy charge to level, and ultimately meaningless. Plenty of us on the left called Bush 43 a Fascist, which was equally as stupid. You might as well oppose something because it’s “bad” and then refrain from explaining just what it is about it that’s bad.

AC245 said...

Also, I suspect you really aren't the type of person that anyone, minority or not, needs to prove himself to, and your knowledge of what goes on at HLS is limited to what you've seen while watching "Legally Blonde" on late night cable with the sound turned off.

I just wanted to point out how in awe I am regarding somefeller's continuing ability to read people's minds over the internet.

Just watching someone with that skill show it off to us normal, non-psychic commenters almost makes up for his constant spewing of tedious, inaccurate, dishonest political commentary.

Almost.

Pogo said...

Stephen said: "here are no government employees on GM's board ...day to day decisions are not made by the government. ...the government that owns 60% of GM's stock happens to be ours ...does not mean Obama has total control of an industry."

All this tells me you don't know very much about socialism, or that what you know is completely wrong.

Stephen said...

@pogo

Look, Ford is still independent, so no, the entire industry is not controlled by the government. I'm not sure how you can argue with that, excep to say that it's a slippery slope.

And in fact, I said that I do not defend this takeover, and that it is indeed a "bad precident" and "much closer to Socialism than Fascism," to quote myself.

The comment was about frivolous use of the word Fascism. I know it was a little long, but perhaps you might want to read the whole comment next time?

Pogo said...

"Look, Ford is still independent, so no, the entire industry is not controlled by the government."

No one said that, of course.

GM is nationalized, which is socialism.


"but perhaps you might want to read the whole comment next time?"

I did, but it's hard to take seriously a post about the definition of fascism when it presents a mistaken definition of socialism.

Tom DeGisi said...

Naturally, since universal education having been the scourge of our society all these years.

Hmmm. The defenders of the Church of England used to say similar things.

I am not sure how government run schools are different from government run churches when it comes to freedom of thought. I would think that people who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion would be even more suspicious of government run schools than they are of government run churches, given the orders of magnitude more time spent in school as opposed to church.

Please remember, clergymen are, for the most part, every bit a noble as teachers, including, for example, esteemed law professors. Yet we rigidly seperate church and state due to the obvious possible abuses of power. Why do we not seperate school and state?

Yours,
Tom DeGisi

Stephen said...

@pogo

I'm not sure where we're goin' off the rails here.

I'm not really arguing with your point about Socialism, although I might parse it a bit and call it Socialist, since it's not a complete takeover of the entire industry.

My point was that it isn't Fascism. Nowhere in the comment do I attempt to define Socialism, nor do I claim that the takeover is not Socialism. In fact, what I do say, is that if you're going to call it anything, Socialism is much closer to the mark than Fascism. I'll quote myself again: "the auto industry takeover is much closer to Socialism than Fascism."

Where do you see a definition of Socialism presented in my comment? Or even evidence that I disagree with your view that the takeover is Socialist in nature?

I'm not trying to be facetious here, I'm actually curious.

bagoh20 said...

" I suspect you really aren't the type of person that anyone, minority or not, needs to prove himself to"

I'd swear a good number of the lefties here are really one person. They certainly believe in collectivism as in sharing a single M.O.: every post they participate in seems to require them to fling personal insults at people they know nothing about. Then they invariably combined it with an arrogance based on some perceived superiority which they always fail to demonstrate to anyone by simply providing respectfully delivered sensible arguments. Throw in a non sequitur and a straw man and that pretty much covers it.

I respect differing opinions and definitely welcome them here. But often a decent argument is punctuated with a flaming bag of poo and a ringing door bell.

This is almost universal among the left side of the arguments here. What is it with you guys. I can't even read most left blogs without feeling like I need a shower after.

bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

Yea, I know, my punctuation and grammar suck and I'm an idiot incapable of comprehending a bag of poo at your level, or something.

somefeller said...

I just wanted to point out how in awe I am regarding somefeller's continuing ability to read people's minds over the internet.

There's nothing psychic about it. Just an ability to connect the dots and make a few deductions, based on the commentary of the speaker. That, and a capability to do more than two minutes of research. But stick around, maybe you'll learn something.

Justin said...

Ann,

You're a wingnut. It's too bad, you know, because you used to be rational and persuasive. Now, you just pander to your ignorant, redneck, "Good Ol' Fashun Amerikkan" commentariat. It's pathetic. (Amazingly, some of them purport to be lawyers. How scary to think of being represented by them. The bar really is set lower in the backwoods, isn't it?) Why did you even vote for Obama? Because you're a contrarian. For contrarian's sake. You rarely agree with his positions, but you voted for him, didn't you? It gives you more credibility, or something like that, right? That's the idea, isn't it? It's very immature to be contrarian for contrarian's sake. Which is what you are. Almost as immature as being libertarian!

You need to grow up. To be your age (over the midpoint!) and have your worldview is very, very unfortunate. Someone who has the time (i.e., someone with a job, like yours, that requires no effort) should really make an effort to destroy your credibility. (Someone other than Andrew Sullivan, because clearly he's inept at doing that.) It wouldn't be very hard to do.

bagoh20 said...

See what I mean? It's like asexual reproduction, perfect copies.

Joan said...

Getting to Harvard means Obama is "smart enough" at least in the law.

Not necessarily. Obama was a legacy admit, too, because his father -- whose name he shares -- also attended Harvard.

Note that G W Bush's Harvard grades were from Harvard Business School, which actually at the time he attended still had a very good reputation. Obama was at HLS some years after my ex-husband graduated, also magna cum laude. My ex was (among other things) an A student, but did not participate in any extra curriculars like Law Review or Moot Court -- he did his class work and that was that, got his As and graduated with magna. I'm sure that Obama's position on Law Review figured into his magma designation, but I don't know what the formula was at the time. It is not apparent to me that HLS graded everything on a curve back then, and even if it did, it might have used a B-centered curve the way MIT did when I was there.

All this is a round-about way to say I think the assumption that magna cum laude equals "top 10% of the class" is unfounded. I would like to see Obama's transcripts and read something substantive that he wrote during his college years, but that will most likely never happen.

somefeller said...
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somefeller said...

All this is a round-about way to say I think the assumption that magna cum laude equals "top 10% of the class" is unfounded. I would like to see Obama's transcripts and read something substantive that he wrote during his college years, but that will most likely never happen.

From the HLS website: "magna cum laude will be awarded to the top 10 percent of the class". Unless the rules were a lot different in 1991 (and the burden of proof is on those who claim as much), at HLS magna = top 10%. And that's what it meant when I was there later in the 90s.

Slow Joe said...

well, what's top ten percent mean?

Do blacks gets grade inflation whites do not? I think that's entirely possible, sadly. Even if it isn't the case, AA has tainted the process and it's sad as hell.

Regardless, Obama did graduate from a tough law school, pass a bar exam, win the presidency against hillary. he's obviously an intelligent man, even if he stutters and doesn't read as much as W did.

JAL said...

For #1 -- POTUS removed the CEO of General Motors, did he not?

"The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said."

The bondholders who were legally in first place were shunted in favor of the union by who? (whom? Never can keep that straight.)

For #2 Have you reviewed Barack Obama's methods in running for elective office? He gets sealed records unsealed, and black signatures disallowed, to clear the way. Screwing the opposition with those techniques sounds like some guy with a sort of Polish name - Al somebody.. Alsinki? You know who I mean -- the guy whose book is now #85 on Amazon which conservatives have bumped into the top 100 the past 29 days...? Mmmm?

The news that the present POTUS does not seem to have gotten yet, which hopefully will come home in the 2010 and 2012 elections is that he is not the boss of everything. Or everyone.

Nor should he or anyone be. This is still the United States of America.

somefeller said...
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somefeller said...
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somefeller said...

well, what's top ten percent mean? Do blacks gets grade inflation whites do not? I think that's entirely possible, sadly. Even if it isn't the case, AA has tainted the process and it's sad as hell.

It's pretty obvious what top 10% means. And there is blind grading of exams at HLS, at least in the courses that have large enrollments, which are the majority of classes that people take during their time there, so professors don't know the identity of the students whose tests they are grading. Here's a suggestion, you racist little prole (and yes, I can tell you are at least two of those things from your commentary) - you don't know enough about anything related to HLS or schools like it to comment intelligently on the subject, so do everyone a favor and stick to talking about things you know about. Like flipping burgers, pro wrestling and stuff like that.

Hopefully third time is the HTML charm.

bagoh20 said...

Ding! The racist charge. Like clockwork.

Joan said...

Unless the rules were a lot different in 1991

We don't know. See what Kurt wrote, upthread, ref the 2001 article in the Chronicles of Ed.

I found this study on women at HLS, with this paragraph of interest:

From 1997 to 2003, women were more likely than men to graduate without Latin honors (55.1% v. 46.6%). Moreover, 14.4% of male graduates received magna cum laude honors, compared with 8.4% of female graduates.

Since HLS's enrollment at the time was weighted towards males, I don't think there's anyway to spin those numbers as totaling 10% of the entire student body. It is interesting that 54% of men and 45% of women at HLS during that period graduated with honors. This would seem to indicate a grading curve with a high center.

Technically, it is possible for more than 10% of a class to graduate magna cum laude even now. If the rules are faithfully copied here, this section pertains: 7. All students who are tied at the margin of the percentage required for honors after net honors and Dean's Scholar Prizes are considered will be deemed to have achieved the required rank for the appropriate Latin honors. Students who graduate in November or March will be granted honors to the extent that students with their same net honors average and the same number of Dean's Scholar Prize credits received honors the previous June.

Does anyone inquire how many students are "tied at the margin", or take into account those who graduate in months other than June? I doubt it.

somefeller said...

Well bagoh20, if someone doesn't want to be called a racist, maybe they shouldn't be saying things that generally come out of the mouths of racists, like: (i) suggesting blacks are being given higher grades as whites, in the absence of any evidence of that (does anyone seriously think something like that would succeed at a grades-conscious place like HLS, or that the conservative and libertarian Federalist Society members there wouldn't protest that?), (ii) claiming that minorities need to "prove themselves" more than whites do, even if they have good credentials, and (iii) generally ranting on and on about affirmative action. In the case of item (iii), there are many bona fide reasons to oppose affirmative action. Personally, I'm not sure it's good policy in many circumstances. But, from what I've seen, those who go on and on about it, and make false claims about how it is applied at elite institutions, usually do so because they at best want to give excuses for their own failures, or at worst are bigots. I haven't read anything from Slow Joe here to make me give him the benefit of the doubt.

Joan, while universities change policies on lots of things, how they define different honors levels is one policy that doesn't change much, given how it can affect alumni resumes, etc. We know what the policy is today, and unless there is evidence (which no one has presented, and the burden is on those who make this claim) that it was radically different in the past, one shouldn't assume that it was different. Frankly, claiming it was (or might be and we have to seriously consider that possibility) different because HLS hasn't posted its 1991 rules on this topic reads more like a debater's trick than an argument. I will grant you that technically the magna numbers may skew slightly over 10% if (and only if) you have people at the lower margin of the 10% whose grades are exactly tied with one another. But think about it - that is at best going to add one or two percentage points, if even that, to the magna rolls, so you still are talking about a top 10% rule here.

somefeller said...

Also, Joan, "Latin honors" is more than magna cum laude. It includes the cum laude ranking, which is the 30% below magna. So, Latin honors is the top 40%, not just the top 10%. That lines up more with the numbers you cite, particularly with the lower-margin rounding up, which is likely to be a little more when you are talking about the margins of the top 40% than the top 10% (remember, at the top 10% level, the tie scores are likely to come from grades that fewer students get, like As and Apluses - HLS grades on a curve). Basically, "Latin honors" at HLS would be the top 40% plus a some points on the margins of the class, and that lines up pretty well with the gender study you cite. And that study looks interesting, I may need to bracket some time to read it.

In any case, since the question was - did Obama graduate in the top 10% of his class, the answer is, yes he did, and his graduation with magna cum laude Latin honors at HLS shows that he did, as far as HLS was concerned. (Unless magna cum laude meant something different at HLS in 1991, which is highly unlikely and no one has proven.) Now, I guess one could claim that HLS thought Obama would run for President back in 1991, so they gave him that extra accolade, but this is highly unlikely.

Aaron said...

Joan

> Obama was a legacy admit, too, because his father -- whose name he shares -- also attended Harvard.

I went to one of these ivy league schools. Whatever bump you get from legacy, it ain’t much.

And I don’t think Obama’s a very good president. He hasn’t been a Carter-level disaster, but then the term is still young. But attacking his academic record is a silly way to go about proving it.

Animal-Rollins D-Menace said...

Bush did it during his re-election campaign for president. Obama did it long before the 2012 election. The difference is wider than the gap between Glenn Beck's ears.

bagoh20 said...

"if someone doesn't want to be called a racist, maybe they shouldn't be saying things that generally come out of the mouths of racists"



Even asking a question or mentioning that something might be preferential is racist?
No, I don't think that is racist. I think that fear of questions like that is racist, since it implies minorities cannot stand the light of truth and prevail.

Those questions are matters of fairness and imply no deficiency by race, but rather in the system that treats some people as defective based on skin color.

But you really just want to insult people any way you can. This does not forward your effort to convince us of your superiority.

Joan said...

Aaron: I went to one of these ivy league schools. Whatever bump you get from legacy, it ain’t much.

What we don't know, since we haven't seen Obama's transcripts or test scores, is whether his father's Harvard career got him admitted.

ITA that once you're in, you're on your own.

somefeller, I think the gender study I cited already demonstrates that prior to 2003, more than the top 10% received magna cum laude honors. I'm sure that Obama earned pretty much nothing but As with perhaps the occasional A- thrown in -- but it sure would be nice to see what courses he took to earn all those As.

I mean, I earned a 3.7 GPA from MIT (technically it's a 4.7/5.0 but since I had no dropped or failed classes, you can just subtract 1 to get the 4.0-scale number), but I took the maximum allowed number of courses Pass/Fail each semester, and probably took way more French lit classes and poetry workshops (easy As for me) than the typical MIT grad.

Skookum John said...

The Department of Education was created in 1979.Raise your hand if you think we didn't have universal public education prior to 1979.

Yes, and Carter's stated purpose for it was that it would greatly improve the academic performance of our children. How's that working out?

The Department of Energy was created under Carter too. That boondoggle was given the mission of weaning America's dependence on foreign oil.

It's a tough call, but I think the Energy Department is the bigger failure. Can we abolish it now?

(Of course, if the unstated mission was to provide do-nothing jobs for armies of otherwise unemployable unionized government slugs, then both of them are smashing successes.)

Slow Joe said...

LOL, nothing I said was racist. I asked a simple and obvious question and anyone interpreting that to be racist is simply being unfair. I've noticed paranoid 'racism' accusations whenever I challenge AA, but I never implied that one race is superior to another. I think we should be treated based on character and not color.

When I was in law school (not Harvard, but a good school), you could take a ton of seminars to bump your grade way up. No blind grade, and no curve.

And grade inflation by race is a widely discussed issue. There's absolutely no reason to think it doesn't occur, that I'm aware of. That I'm called racist for asking about it may not be a reason to be more suspicious, but it's hardly a good argument, either.

And while there is blind grading, it's only blind from the professor's POV. He gives a grade to students and then the curve is applied by the university. At that point, the school can very easily decide that 1 of the As must go to the URM with the highest score.

The fact that minorities do much worse on bar exams than their law school GPAs says something. But my overall point is that it's unfortunate we have affirmative action in any capacity anywhere at all, because these questions will always exist as a result.

AlphaLiberal said...

Make that "Democrat," Ann. And, Byron York distorts the story.

If you look at the quote, Gephardt criticizes politicizing it and calls for a Presidential address supporting educational achievement -- which is exactly what Obama did.

False equivalence is for lazy minds!