May 4, 2006

McClellan then explained that Bush was not even aware that Spanish is, like, a whole different language

The White House is denying that Bush ever sang the Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish — because he's "not that good" with the language. But has he ever tacitly endorsed the singing of the national anthem in Spanish? By, say, hiring somebody to do so at his first inauguration?

From the Cox News Service report of January 18, 2001:

A racially diverse string of famous and once famous performers entertained Bush, soon-to-be First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who watched on stage from a special viewing area. Pop star Jon Secada sang the national anthem in English and Spanish.

And speaking of traitors, there was also an early warning that a certain someone couldn't be trusted.

Seated in the audience, Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, flush from his Senate confirmation as Secretary of State, sang along as Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., original members of the pop group The Fifth Dimension, performed " Let the Sun Shine In."

Fucking hippie.

Update: According to a commenter, Cox News got the wrong song. Damn you, Nexis.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Unfortunately, Cox News Service seems to have got it wrong; it was "America, the Beautiful" that Secada sang, according to every other contemporaneous account. However, we do have this, from Kevin Phillips's American Dynasty, p. 47:

George W. Bush, by contrast, developed the use of minority imagery into a calculated routine. In 1999, as he went from million-dollar fund-raiser to million-dollar fund-raiser, his cavalcade stopped regularly for photo opportunities in black and Hispanic schools and community centers. ... When visiting cities like Chicago, Milwaukee or Philadelphia in pivotal states, he would drop in at Hispanic festivals and parties, sometimes joining in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Spanish, sometimes partying with a "Viva Bush" mariachi band flown in from Texas.

The Phillips account is the one that the White House denies.

Just as an aside, during the Nixon regime, the 5th Dimension was invited to the White House and chose to sing their musical version of the Delaration of Independence.

The story goes that some in the administration saw this as inappropriate and dangerous. You know, lines like:

>>That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Pretty revolutionary stuff, eh?

Anyway, Nixon eventually signed off on the performance, deeming it "patriotic."

I wonder if Bush would.

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