In yesterday’s New York Times, Notre Dame alum and former Reagan Administration Security Adviser Richard Allen wrote a column in which he hopes that the university would “welcome President Obama as its principal commencement speaker but…not give him an honorary degree.” This of course is because Obama is pro-choice.
Allen also went on to tell us the following about his old boss…
In his first appearance after an attempted assassination on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan traveled to Notre Dame to deliver its commencement address. As Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser, and as someone who earned two degrees at Notre Dame, I went along. Mr. Reagan had special ties to the school. He portrayed the Notre Dame football legend George Gipp in the 1940 classic “Knute Rockne — All American.” (This may be why so many people thought he was Catholic — this, and his Irish name.)
But the reasons for his invitation went much deeper. The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, the university’s president at the time, told me that he conferred an honorary degree on Mr. Reagan because he admired his unflinching stance during the 1980 campaign on the protection of the unborn. This was a difficult position at the time, for pressures were building in support of abortion rights after the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Mr. Reagan’s views and policies were recognized in the honorary degree he received.
A shame that Reagan’s tacit approval of racist violence as noted here wasn’t “recognized by the university” also, apparently.
And it’s also interesting to me that a divorced president receives an honorary degree from a Catholic institution no questions asked as long as that person opposes abortion (to say nothing of the fact that the university apparently has a blind spot for Republicans generally, as noted above and in the pic – I know this is “water wet, sky blue,” but it deserves to be called out).
And what of conferring an honorary degree on Dubya anyway? I mean, I seem to recall reading in the Bible about Our Lord calling out those guilty of economic oppression, mainly tax collectors, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to extend that to those who would pass laws keeping people downtrodden (particularly when 43 gets to spout the following dreck before the ’01 class, as noted here):
“The welfare entitlement became an enemy of personal effort and responsibility, turning many recipients into dependents. The War on Poverty also turned too many citizens into bystanders, convinced that compassion had become the work of government alone.”
Oh, but Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History spoke at South Bend in May 2001 and didn’t sign legislation phasing out the federal estate tax until the next month, a big reason why he left office with 4.4 million Americans in poverty (with his tax cuts totaling $1.3 trillion in red ink, as noted here), I hear some say.
Well then, would it have been too much trouble to look at what he did as Texas governor, then? As noted here…
..Bush first opposed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)…and then tried to limit its scope with restrictive income eligibility requirements. Facing certain defeat over the popular program, Governor Bush ultimately caved to public pressure. Of course, he then took credit for it.
But of course, Obama is pro-choice as previously noted, which automatically trumps any real or perceived faults of his Repug predecessors, doesn’t it? Sure it does…
Another thing…Allen himself really doesn’t have room to cast aspersions either, seeing as how he accepted gratuities in the form of watches from “Japanese friends who were high-level government consultants,” as noted here, and he also misplaced a $1,000 check supposedly intended for Nancy Reagan, though Allen was cleared by the Meese Justice Department (hey, if Tom Daschle had to step down from considering for Secretary of HHS over back taxes he already paid, then I don’t think it’s “out of bounds” to bring this up about Allen).
And by the way, here is a somewhat different take on the question of the university “losing its true soul” by allowing President Obama to speak and conferring a degree (I’ll keep an eye to see what happens first, a Charlie Weis-coached football team winning a national title, or Dubya’s acceptance’s to MENSA).