a Comparison in Quotations of the Policies and Politics
of the Founding Fathers and George W. Bush

    IX. Presidential Values

    The Education President

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "I was taught that we should look after the beam in our own eye before searching for the mote in someone else's."

    ---Interview with David Horowitz for, May 6, 1999

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "To those of you who’ve received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done, and to the C students. . . I say, you too can be President of the United States."

    ---Yale commencement speech, 2000

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I’m not a textbook player. I’m a gut player.”

    ---Interview to Bob Woodward, August 20, 2002, Bush At War, p. 342

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “The best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world.”

    ---FOX interview w/ Brit Hume, September 23, 2003

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "What's in the newspapers worth worrying about? I glance at the headlines just to kind of [get] a flavor of what's moving . . . I rarely read the stories. . . . [I get] briefed by people who have probably read the news themselves."

    ---Interview with Fox anchor Brit Hume, quoted by Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers, October 15, 2003

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I don't watch the nightly newscasts on TV . . . nor do I watch the endless hours of people giving their opinion about things. I don't read the editorial pages; I don't read the columnists. It can be a frustrating experience to pay attention to somebody's false opinion."

    ---Bill Sammon (Washington Times senior White House correspondent), from his book Misunderestimated, also noting that “Bush is an avid reader of the newspaper sports section but tries to stay away from hard news.”

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three -- three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?"

    ---While showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office, May 5, 2006

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “The Stranger. . . . I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read and Laura said you oughtta try Camus. I also read three Shakespeares.”

    ---Responding to NBC’s Brian Williams on his recent reading, August 29, 2006

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.”

    ---Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1758

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “I cannot live without books.”

    ---Letter to John Adams, June 10, 1815

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

    ---Letter to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “What an effort, my dear Sir, of bigotry in politics & religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of vandalism when ignorance put everything into the hands of power & priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backwards, not forwards for improvement; the President himself declaring in one of his answers to addresses that we were never to expect to go beyond them in real science.”

    ---Letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley Washington, March, 21, 1801

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “We are now trusting to those who are against us in position and principle to fashion to their own form the minds and affections of our youth. . . . This canker is eating on the vitals of our existence and if not arrested at once will be beyond remedy.”

    ---Letter to James Breckinridge, 1821; Writings (ME), vol. VII, p. 204

    JAMES MADISON: “No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject."

    ---Letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822

    THOMAS PAINE: “A nation under a well regulated government should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.”

    ---Rights of Man, 1792

    The Justice President

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “You cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative."

    —Interview with the Washington Post, March 23, 2000

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "We're not into nation-building. We're into justice."

    ---White House News Conference, September 25, 2001

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I’m absolutely confident that everybody that’s been put to death is two things: One, they’re guilty of the crime charged, and, secondly, they had full access to our courts, both state and federal.”

    INTERVIEWER COKIE ROBERTS: “Now, the day before that debate, a man was executed here, Odell Barnes. And he had all kinds of evidence against him, which in the final stage of the investigations, new lawyers had information that called every piece of evidence into question. And none of that was ever heard by a court, because the way the system works is that if you don’t have it in the first appeal, you can’t get it in later. . . . The question is, how can you be sure?”

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “Well, because there’s—you can be sure by looking at the evidence and listening to the—and looking at what a lot of lawyers discussed and a lot of judges heard. This is not — of course, we’re executing people. That’s the law of the land, but we’re making sure that the innocence or guilt question is fully answered. And that’s what a court system does as well.”

    ---On ABC's "This Week," July 16, 2000

    JOHN ADAMS: “A government of laws, and not of men.”

    ---"Novanglus" papers, Boston Gazette, November 7, 1774

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “What I deem to be the essential principles of our Government . . . equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion.”

    ---First Inaugural Address, March 1801

    If The Shoe fits, If The Boot Pinches . . .

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."

    ---Milwaukee, October 2, 2003

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, ‘I was just following orders.’"

    ---Speaking to Iraqi people during a national address, March 17, 2003

    PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR KAREN HUGHES: “The fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

    ---On CNN, April 2004

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “Terrorists and their allies believe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Bill of Rights and every charter of liberty ever written are lies to be burned and destroyed and forgotten.”

    ---Speech at the United Nations, Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    ALEXANDER HAMILTON: “There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.

    ---“Publius II,” October 26, 1778

    ALEXANDER HAMILTON: “It sometimes happens that a temporary caprice of the people leads them to make choice of men whom they neither love nor respect; and that they afterward, from an indolent and mechanical habit natural to the human mind, continue their confidence and support merely because they had once conferred them. I cannot persuade myself that your influence rests upon a better foundation, and I think the finishing touch your have given to the profligacy of your character must rouse the recollection of the people, and force them to strip you of a dignity which sets so awkwardly upon you, and consign you to that disgrace which is due to a scandalous perversion of your trust.”

    --- “Publius II,” October 26, 1778.

    ALEXANDER HAMILTON: No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable.

    ---Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62, 1788.

    W. v. Poor Richard

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is misunderestimating.”

    ---Quoted in U.S. News & World Reports, April 3, 2000

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

    ---Statements to reporters during an interview on a golf course, August 4, 2002; publicized in the film Fahrenheit 9/11

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I said you were a man of peace. I want you to know I took immense crap for that.”

    ---Comment to Ariel Sharon, “The Washington Post,” June 3, 2003

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

    ---Yahoo! News, August 5, 2004


    “He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.” (1733)

    “Blame All and Praise All are two Blockheads.” (1734)

    “Without justice, courage is weak.” (1734)

    “Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that have not wit enough to be honest.” (1740)

    “Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else.” (1740)

    “Vice knows [its] ugly, so [it] puts on [a] mask.” (1742)

    “Many foxes grow grey, but few grow good.” (1749)

    “If Passion drives, let Reason hold the reins.” (1749)

    “Would thou confound thy enemy, be good thyself.” (1750)

    “Cunning proceeds from lack of capacity.” (1751)

    “He that is conscious of a stink in his breeches is [suspicious] of every wrinkle in another’s nose.” (1751)

    “The wise and brave dares own that he was wrong.” (1751)

    “You may give give a man office, but you cannot give him discretion “ (1754)

    “Little rogues easily become great ones.” (1754)

    ---Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanacks

    In A Nutshell

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I'm not going to change my mind.”

    ---Crawford Texas, August 13, 2001

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "I am the commander, see? I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

    ---November 2002, quoted by Bob Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 145-146

    GEORGE W. BUSH (asked to name his biggest mistake since 9/11): "I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it . . . I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet. . . . I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. . . . You just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."

    ---White House Press Conference, April 13, 2004

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

    ---Speech in Greece NY, May 2005

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I'm the decider and I decide what's best.”

    --- April 18, 2006

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant in a Dedication, tells the Pope that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said, "I don't know how it happens, Sister, but I meet with no body but myself, that's always in the right.”

    ---Last day of the Constitutional Convention, 1787

    GEORGE WASHINGTON: “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

    ---Farewell address, 1796

    JOHN ADAMS: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

    ---In defense of the British soldiers on trial for the "Boston Massacre," December 4, 1770

    JOHN ADAMS: “Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.”

    ---Letter to J.H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “We confide in our strength without boasting of it, we respect that of others without fearing it.”

    ---Letter to William Carmichael and William Short, June 30, 1793

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “Yet by such worthless beings is a great nation to be governed and even made to deify their old king because he is only a fool and a maniac, and to forgive and forget his having lost to them a great and flourishing empire.”

    ---Letter to Madame de Tesse, December 8, 1813

    [Not a prescience of George II & Co., but a reference to Britain’s George III.]

    ALEXANDER HAMILTON: “A struggle for liberty is in itself respectable and glorious. . . . When conducted with magnanimity, justice and humanity, it ought to command the admiration of every friend to human nature. But if sullied by crimes and extravagancies, it loses its respectability.

    ---Hamilton (and Henry Knox), letter to Washington, May 2, 1793

    SAMUEL ADAMS: “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

    --- Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

    SAMUEL ADAMS: “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

    --- Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

    JAMES MADISON: "A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution."

    ---At the Constitutional Convention, 1787

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Author: Steve Coffman

Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: One World Studios

Language: English

ISBN: 978-0979727207

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