RUSH: Now, many of you have expressed concern over the amount of spending that might take place here in the aftermath, the rebuilding, of Hurricane Katrina, and I’ve told you… Well, I don’t want to repeat the whole thing, but I mentioned to you that I heard something a little different in the president’s speech on Thursday night. I heard that the president was talking about, if you read between the lines, “Okay, look, we’ve tried it your way for 60 years; now we’re going to try it our way.” Well, yesterday in the White House press briefing, a reporter, John Roberts of CBS — oh, speaking of that, have you heard that Dan Rather broke down in tears again? This time he was at Fordham University making a speech to journalism students. He decried, he lamented, he whined about the “climate of fear” that exists in newsrooms today. The climate of fear that exists in newsrooms today? I will, of course, have details on this as the program unfolds today. Anyway, it was John Roberts at the White House press briefing yesterday talking and asking questions of Scott McClellan, and Roberts said, “Was the president disappointed that President Clinton made those comments at this particular time, particularly given the fact that President Clinton seemed to be looking ahead to the 2008 elections?”
McCLELLEN: I think it’s important to look at the policies, and we’re glad to talk about the policies. And one question you have to come back to is, “Do we continue to move forward on failed policies of the past that have left too many behind or do we think in new and bold ways to help all Americans?” And this president has thought in new and bold ways and actually acted, and we are making great progress to do so.
RUSH: Another Rush See, I Told You So. The president’s spokesman here is essentially saying the same thing I told you about the president’s speech. There are going to be new, bold policies here. We’re not going to do the same old things that we’ve done in the past, those policies that have left too many behind. I will say this, folks. One thing I did forget to mention the other day that the president said on Thursday that did upset me, and it sort of reminded me of a moment with Jack Kemp in a vice presidential debate back in 1996. Gore, if you remember, praised Kemp as one conservative who’s not a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, and Kemp said, “Thank you, Mr. Vice President. I appreciate that,” rather than destroying the whole premise of the thing. The president in his speech on Thursday night said this, “All of us saw on television, there is also some deep persistent poverty in this region as well, and that poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cuts off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.” That’s the one thing in the speech that I cringed at, and that was assessing the roots of poverty as being found in racial discrimination. Not down there, not in New Orleans. You cannot say that racial discrimination had anything to do with the poverty in New Orleans. It had everything to do with the fact that it’s a failed welfare state. It’s a failed entitlement mentality. It’s a failed attempt at a liberal utopia down there for at least 60 years.
Now, I don’t expect the president to get into an intellectual exchange or even try to win an intellectual argument in the speech on Thursday night. I mean, had he said to the people of Louisiana, “You have been failed by 60 years of liberalism,” I would have loved it, don’t misunderstand. I would have loved it, and were I giving the speech I would have said the same thing. I would have said that, but I don’t expect the president to get into any kind of an intellectual argument with people in the midst of that speech, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I think perhaps it might have been the first time that some of those evacuees really watched any serious media, and some of those evacuees, most of them were very, very favorably disposed toward the president’s comments. I think he had to get their attention and he had to talk their language and then talk about new policies and so forth. He’s going to let actions speak rather than words. That’s my hope. That’s my hope, he’s going to let actions speak rather than words here in rebuilding the place down there. But I cringed at that, and I should have mentioned this yesterday, because it was something that, just, “No, can we get past this, especially when it comes to this region of the country.” Now, as to more See, I Told You So’s the Washington Post today, headline: “Bush Proposes Vouchers for All Displaced Students — Under President Bush’s plan to cover most of the cost of educating students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, parents could enroll their children in a private or religious school this year at federal expense, even if they had gone to public schools back home, administration officials said yesterday.
“In proposing $1.9 billion in aid for kindergartners through 12th-graders whose schools were ruined by the storm, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings originally said the administration was setting aside $488 million for private-school tuition and other help, to re-create as normal an environment as possible for the uncommonly large segment of children from New Orleans who had attended Catholic schools. Yesterday, however, as new fine print of the proposal emerged, White House and Education Department spokesmen confirmed that the government payment — as much as $7,500 per child — would be given for a year to any displaced family that now prefers an alternative to public schools. ‘Parents may choose to send children to private schools. They may not. But this is their choice,’ said Susan Aspey, the Education Department’s spokeswoman.” Well, hosanna! This is exactly the kind of thing that I was hoping for, exactly the kind of thing that I thought the president meant, and you know the left isn’t going to like this at all — and, by the way, before you cringe at this $7,500 per child, understand that in many states we’re spending $12,000 and $15,000 per child in public school systems — New Jersey, New York, and a whole bunch of places. We’re spending much more than $7,500 per child every year in public education.
Now, this $7,500 is essentially a voucher, and the parents can take it and send their kid to whatever school they want with this money. This is fabulous. “Senator Edward Kennedy, ranking Democrat on the Senate’s health, education, labor and pensions committee, said, ‘Instead of reopening ideological battles we ought to be focused on reopening schools and getting people the help they need.'” Typical comment. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah, whine whine whine whine whine, moan moan moan moan moan moan, because Senator Kennedy knows that the last thing that needs to happen in this whole recovery is the demonstration of the worth and value and success of conservative policies in this area. It’s a little known fact, maybe a well kept secret that any time a philanthropist comes up and offers this kind of aid to parents who want to send their kids to the school of their choice, the vast majority of parents who step forward to get those grants are African-American parents. They know the score. I mean, they know the circumstances of the schools they have to send their kids to, and I think it’s fabulous. Here’s Senator Kennedy, and he’s not the first Democrat, worrying about now the ideology of the recovery! So, you know, keep your hats on here, folks, it looks like a half decent start to a lot of this. We’re going to keep our eyes on it.