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George W. Bush

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With Jeb Bush and Donald Trump arguing over whether George W. Bush failed to stop 9/11, it’s worth going to the videotape (47:28) of the second Presidential debate of 2000. On 10/11/2000, the Texas governor denounced heightened scrutiny of Arab airline passengers by airport security. Bush said on national TV:

Secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn’t just an issue at local police forces. It’s an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we’re going to have to deal with it more and more. I believe, though — I believe, as sure as I’m sitting here, that most Americans really care. They’re tolerant people. They’re good, tolerant people. It’s the very few that create most of the crises, and we just have to find them and deal with them.

Note that when the future President said “we just have to find them and deal with them,” the “them” he was referring to as having to be dealt with were not Arab skyjackers but airline and airport employees worried about stopping Arab skyjackers.

In accordance with this statement, Bush appointed Democrat Norman Mineta Secretary of Transportation and directed him to root out profiling of Arabs at the airport.

In 2005, airport counter clerk Michael Tuohey told Oprah Winfrey of his encounter early on 9/11/2001 with the leader of the terrorists:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap…I thought, ‘My God, Michael, these are just a couple of Arab businessmen.’”

By the way, on a personal note, this may have been when I started to realize I was the world’s least viral journalist. I’m not sure if the word “viral” had that meaning on 9/11/2001, but if it did, I was sure that the President’s 11-month-old denunciation of anti-terrorism efforts would soon go viral. I vividly recalled watching Bush say this to a huge television audience less than a year before. Back then you couldn’t post video, but it was easy to find a transcript. So I stayed up late that night writing up “Bush had called for laxer airport security” so I wouldn’t get scooped too badly by all the other pundits.

In all the rush, it didn’t get published for about a week. Yet by then, nobody else had brought it up. When my piece didn’t get any attention, well, lots of stuff was happening.

Every few years since then, I’ve brought up Bush’s statement, but it never seems to register on anybody other than my core readers. It’s an interesting example of the Sapir-Whorf effect in action. We are given categories to file facts away in: e.g., Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Terrorism, etc. It’s very hard to remember anything that doesn’t fit in the right slots.

This is the first time I’ve posted video of Bush saying this. We’ll see if this makes any difference in the impact, although by now, after 14 years, I doubt it.

Similarly, the big Bush Push of 2002-2004 to ease traditional credit standards, such as down payments and documentation, that have disparate impact on black and Hispanic mortgage-seekers is practically impossible for most people to remember because it doesn’t fit in the categories: Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Liberalism, etc.

Here’s a video of Bush telling his federal regulators that down payment requirements are keeping minorities from achieving the American Dream:

But I’ve posted this before with negligible impact.

 
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Almost a decade ago, President Bush and Senator Kennedy got together and pushed through the No Child Left Behind act, which mandated that every single child in America would score “Proficient” or “Advanced” on reading and writing by 2013-2014, and told the states to concoct, administer, and grade their own tests to demonstrate this (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Some states got the hint, such as Mississippi, which soon reported that, even with a couple of years left on its Five Year Plan for Educational Awesomeness, 89% of Mississippi 4th grade readers were already Proficient/Advanced. Whether the governor of Mississippi also invited President Bush and Senator Kennedy to float in state down the Mississippi and see all the thriving new schools that he had erected on the banks of that mighty river is lost in the mists of history.

Unfortunately, while Bush and Kennedy were at it, they forgot to abolish the federal National Assessment of Education Progress test, which has gone on reporting that reading test scores have just kept on keeping on. From today’s Washington Post:

Reading scores stalled under ‘no child’ law, report finds

… progress nationwide has stalled despite huge instructional efforts launched under the No Child Left Behind law.

The 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that fourth-grade scores for the nation’s public schools stagnated after the law took effect in 2002, rose modestly in 2007, then flatlined. …

The national picture for eighth-grade reading was largely the same: a slight uptick in performance since 2007 but no gain in the seven years when President George W. Bush’s program for school reform was in high gear. …

When Bush signed the law, hopes were high for a revolution in reading. Billions of dollars were spent, especially in early grades, to build fluency, decoding skills, vocabulary, comprehension and a love of books that would propel students in all subjects. The goal was to eliminate racial and ethnic achievement gaps. But Wednesday’s report showed no great leaps for the nation and stubborn disparities in performance between white and black students, among others.

Another way to look at it is that we’re actually doing pretty good. With demographic riptide running in the wrong direction, just staying in the same place is a tribute to a lot of hard work.

Other notes: the white-black gap in 4th grade reading scores is by far the largest in the most liberal jurisdiction, the District of Columbia. Nationwide, it’s 25 points, but in DC it’s 60 points. The next biggest white-black gaps for 4th graders are in Minnesota (35 points) and Wisconsin (35). The smallest white-black gaps are in West Virginia (12 points — dumb whites), New Hampshire and Vermont (few blacks), and Pentagon-run schools (need a 92 IQ to enlist).

Indeed, DC has by far the highest scoring white kids (15 points ahead of Massachusetts). It’s black students are no longer the lowest scoring, being four points ahead of Wisconsin. (The worst scoring black 4th graders are in the socially liberal Old Northwest: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. This is probably due in part to high welfare payments and easy eligibility requirements in the 1960s attracting the most feckless Southern blacks.)

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough white 8th graders in DC public schools for the NAEP to come up with an adequate sample size of white 8th graders in DC.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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