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September 07, 2009

Guess What? Lefties Are Mischaracterizing Reagan's Speech To School Kids In 1988

One of the left's lines of defense of Obama has been that Reagan gave a speech to kids and he even talked about political issues!

The Village Voice (I know but stick with me) defends Obama by digging up a Reagan speech to school kids.

This is not unprecedented. In 1988, President Reagan did a speech and had a Q-and-A with schoolkids which was covered on C-Span, and in which Reagan took the opportunity to tell the children that "I think there's more patriotism today. We've been in a time when people have gotten rather cynical about those things," promoted "an amendment to our Constitution that requires the Government every year to balance the budget," and informed students that "one of the principal reasons that we were able to get the economy back on track and create those new jobs and all was we cut the taxes." He also explained his opposition to gun control, citing a letter he had allegedly been sent by a burglar in prison (helpfully adding, "I don't know why to this day he ever chose to send the letter to me").

Problem is, all the stuff the Voice quotes as being political was in the Q and A, not the speech itself. Now, if Obama got asked questions like this we would charge him with planting them but I have no idea what kind of advance work was done by Reagan's people.

Still, what was he supposed to do? Not answer the questions?

Take a look at the actual speech which the Voice links to (I guess they figure none of their readers would follow through and check for themselves), it's pure Reagan, a love letter to America.

A taste (safe Reagan archives link).

Now, the Revolution may seem like something they say happened a long time ago -- to me 200 years seems just like yesterday -- but I think it'll prove to be America's most important guidepost for the future. I believe that the chief moral task for America in your generation -- a period destined for great change -- will be not so much to chart a new course or launch a new revolution, but to keep faith with the original American Revolution and that remarkable vision of freedom that has brought us two centuries of liberty and is still today transforming the world.

Over these 200 years, country after country has followed our path, and I believe that ultimately all nations will do so. It's no exaggeration to say that the political vision of our Founding Fathers has become the model for the world. This is true not just in the many countries that have turned from despotism to democracy these last years, it's also true even where it's least apparent. It's remarkable to realize that in this century even brutal totalitarian dictatorships kneel at the feet of our Founding Fathers when they try to counterfeit the practices and institutions of democracy in order to claim legitimacy for their ruling their people. Dictators today from Afghanistan to Nicaragua do not want to be called Czar or Commissar; they want to be called Mr. President and to pretend that they rule in the people's name, even if they don't. Yes, even Communist dictators holding power through force, against the will of the people, acknowledge the triumph of the American idea when they go through the motions of holding phony elections, forming rubberstamp legislatures to ratify constitutions that will not be honored, and then using our words to call their regimes democracies or republics.

...Here in the White House there's a famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And it shows many of the great men of that time assembled in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. But when you look closely at the painting, you see that some of the figures in the hall are just outlines, waiting to be filled in, the faces have not yet been drawn. You see, this great painting isn't finished. But what the people who gathered in Philadelphia two centuries ago set out to do is not yet finished, either. And that, I suppose, is why the painting is the way it is. America is not yet complete, and it's up to each one of us to help complete it. And each one of you can place yourself in that painting. You can become one of the those immortal figures by helping to build and renew America.

And we're entering one of the most exciting times in history, a time of unlimited possibilities, bounded only by the size of your imagination, the depth of your heart, and the character of your courage. More than two centuries of American history -- the contributions of the millions of people who have come before us have been given to us as our birthright. All we can do to earn what we've received is to dream large dreams, to live lives of kindness, and to keep faith with the unfinished vision of the greatness and wonder of America.

I understand why the left wants to defend Obama. However doing it by making stuff up about Reagan's speech doesn't help their cause.

One thing we need to be mindful of us is not going to 11! on everything about Obama. Yes, there's a lot to go nuts about but the non-political public can only digest so much. If we attack everything people will stop listening and the White House will have a chance to play the victim and mock the right.

As I said earlier, I think Obama's speech is fine as written (Jim Geraghty goes so far as to call it the best of Obama's presidency). The two speeches have different messages but both are appropriate for Presidents to deliver to school kids. In the long run we will be more effective in dealing with Obama if we acknowledge the occasional things he does that are okay.

Um... [ace]: I see nothing here suggesting that this was a national address to schoolkids which every principle in America was supposed to simulcast in their classrooms.

I sense deliberate vagueness when this horrible blogger -- an absolute idiot, incidentally -- writes that Reagan "did a speech covered on CSPAN."

An old trick of the accomplished bullshit artist (and I would know): Write something that suggests a far bigger statement than you're willing to assert. When you get called on it later, you can say, Fake but Accurately, "But I never said it was nationally simulcast."

No, you merely implied the living crap out of it.

This reminds me of a line from the Usual Suspects:

Interrogation Cop: I can put you in Queens on the night of the hijacking.

Hockney: Really? I live in Queens. Did you put that together yourself, Einstein? What, do you got a team of monkeys working around the clock on this?

Reagan did a speech which was covered on CSPAN, you say? That team of monkeys you have just earned their Christmas bonus.

This idiot has to do more than mention that it was "covered by CSPAN" before he claims "precedent."

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 03:52 PM

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