Mudcat Café message #1374029 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1374029
Posted By: Amos
07-Jan-05 - 05:31 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
January 7, 2005

George Bush, Using Your Money to Sell His Programs

(Editorial from the Thousand and One Reasons website

I had never heard of Armstrong Williams before USA Today broke the story about his contract with the Bush administration to sell the No Child Left Behind Act. He must be famous, though, to justify the quarter million he earned by pushing it, surreptitiously, to his audience. And he must have worked hard to earn that kind of money, although USA Today only reported that he had to "regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts" and "encourage the producers to periodically address" NCLB. Williams, whose television show is nationally syndicated, "does not recall disclosing the contract to audiences on the air." Such a trivial thing; no wonder he can't remember

Whether or not such contracts are legal -- and it seems doubtful that they are -- they certainly fail to meet the ethical standards American citizens expect of their government, even the ethically-challenged Bush administration. Remember, these are your tax dollars being spent to promote a government program many educators believe is misguided at best. Obviously, the NCLB program will not sell itself, any more than the Social Security privatization that is also being sold to us now. Any more than the war against Iraq could sell itself: Bush and his hawkish supporters spent months selling that one. That sales job, however, used a different tactic: fear. And the Social Security sales job borrows that idea, scaring us with the threat of lost benefits. Never mind that the proposal being sold will cut our benefits.

I suppose it's the background of the Bushies -- the elite, corporate world was their playground -- that leads them to such tactics. Perhaps they don't understand that people are convinced by reason and logic, with the sheer power of good ideas. On the other hand, perhaps they understand it all too well. If they understood that logic and reason would not support the unnecessary and illegal war against Iraq, then they would have to sell it. And sell it hard, with threats of dirty bombs, mushroom clouds, and biological warfare. If logic and reason would not support the restrictive and punitive aspects of NCLB, nor the unfunded mandate it became, then they would have to sell it. Mr. Williams, we have a deal for you.

I had never heard of Armstrong Williams in part because I watch little television. Too many commercials for me, too much selling. But I wonder about his audience. Did they believe he was giving an honest opinion about a government program? Didn't they think it odd that he would be so high on a program that he would "comment on it regularly"? And did they buy? Did the quarter million lead them to demand NCLB from the local school districts? Did it make them more likely to vote for people like Bush who backed such a program? Of course it did. Karl Rove knows exactly how to spend your money and what it will buy him: more power.

The war in Iraq is a disaster. The No Child Left Behind Act has left millions of children behind and has arbitrarily set standards and then punished schools that failed to meet them. Social Security, if we also buy Bush's "fix" for that, will see a similar fate: it, too, will be degraded. On the horizon are other sales opportunities. But they will come at a high price, much higher than you will be led to believe. Call it deceptive advertising. And demand a refund.