Bush on Free Speech and Decision Making

Musing Minds has a good catch we would undoubtedly otherwise have missed – President Bush commenting on being called “Hitler” and on free speech and decision making. Great stuff. Excerpt here, but you’ll want to go to Musing Minds for the whole transcript

Partial Transcript:

President: Whereabouts?

Questioner: Aurora, Colorado.

President: Oh good. Thanks.

Questioner: Recently in our town a teacher was suspended for remarks critical of your State of the Union message, made the talk shows, etc. Compared you to Hitler and, actually I’ve heard the tape, he did, he said Hitleresque… {President laughs} It’s not the…

President {laughing} He’s not the only one you know.

Questioner: And it is not the content of my question though. My question is about your sense of the free speech right in the classroom or in public to criticize you without being unpatriotic.

President: Yeah, I think people should be able to criticize me all they want. And they do.

{laughter}

President: Now what are you all laughing at over there? Don’t cheer ‘em on. Look, I think the great thing about… Look… There are some certain basic freedoms that we’ve got to protect. The freedom of people to express themselves must be protected. The freedom of people to be able to worship freely, that freedom is valuable. I tell people all the time, “You are equally American if you are Christian, Jew, or Muslim. You are equally American if you believe in an Almighty or don’t believe in an Almighty.” That’s a sacred freedom. The right for people to express themselves in the public square is a freedom.

Obviously there’s [sic] limitations. If, for example, someone is inciting violence, or the destruction of property, or public, you know, causing somebody harm. But the idea of being able to express yourself is a sacred part of our society. And that’s just what distinguishes us from the Taliban. And that’s important for Americans to understand. We are in an ideological struggle. And one way for people to connect the ideological struggle with reality is to think about what life was like for people under the rule of the Taliban. If you didn’t agree with their view of religion, you were punished. If you tried to send your little girl to school, you were punished. These people have a backward view. I believe religion is peaceful. I believe that people that have religion in their heart are peaceful people. I believe these people have subverted a great religion to accomplish a political end.

So thank you for bringing that up. I appreciate it. People say to me, my buddies in Texas, “How do you handle all this stuff?” After a while you get used to it. {laughter} But you have to believe in what you’re doing, see? You have to believe in certain principles and beliefs and you can’t let the public opinion polls and focus groups cause you to abandon what you believe and become the reason for making decisions.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: One of the reasons I put this under “Dumb Democrat Moves” is because I think it’s just DUMB for the Democrats to oppose President Bush on every single issue, every single day. It’s not statesmanship. It’s not even partisanship. It’s just spiteful, infantile, unproductive and…yes, DUMB.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Joseph

    I think it’s just DUMB for the Democrats to oppose President Bush on every single issue, every single day. It’s not statesmanship. It’s not even partisanship. It’s just spiteful, infantile, unproductive and…yes, DUMB.

    Well, as the President says, You have to believe in certain principles and beliefs and you can’t let the public opinion polls and focus groups cause you to abandon what you believe and become the reason for making decisions.

    I do think that some of my friends might consider the possibility that even Democrats might have beliefs and principles to hold onto.

    They may be bad principles, they may be wrong beliefs, but that does not mean such beliefs and principles do not exist. And I presume the President means that you shouldn’t abandon your principles merely because somebody else thinks them bad.

    If I were to strip the overheated rhetoric from the writings of some of my fellow Democrats and state the fundamental beliefs behind them they would go like this:

    1) That this country has been forced to contend with 5+ years of simple, total, and objectively discernable, bad governmental management.

    2) That much, if not all, of the call for “biparisanship” by our good friends is plain bad faith because our friends have so many “non-negotiable” agendas.

    3) That by assuming extraordinary executive “war powers” in the name of the War On Terror, this President is essentially making such powers permanent. There is no conceivable way a War On Terror can ever come to an end.

    4) That this transformation of America has also been undertaken in bad faith to strongarm many, if not most, of the “non-negotiable” agendas whether most of the country believes in them or not.

    5) That the net effect of this will be to transform this country into a “garrison state” of permanent war powers which will be democratic in outer form, but essentially authoritarian in actual practice. The contemporary model for such a state is Israel.

    Now it is not to my purpose here to argue whether these beliefs are right or wrong, or whether the principles behind them are good or bad. But I would like to assert that the beliefs and principles really do exist.

    And it would be far more helpful to any dialog about things other than the “non-neotiable agendas” if my good friends would come to the realization that they do exist.


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