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George W. Bush on Responsibility

1994: George W. Bush Named Campaign Plane Accountability 1.

George Bush's 1994 gubernatorial campaign plane was called Accountability 1. See Sam Howe Verhovek, The Bushes: Two Brothers Share a Quest but Not a Style, The New York Times, 11/5/94

1994: Accountability Necessary for “Peaceful World.”

''I don't think cultures go backwards,'' [George W. Bush] said, ''and I never would even suggest that the Ozzie and Harriet days of our youth will return. But there must be a new culture, a new attitude, a new mindset holding people accountable for their behavior if we expect to have a peaceful world. The governor of Texas can help that change, and I want to be a party to that.''
Ellen Debenport, Brothers Not Close, but Rhetoric Is, Scripps-Howard NS, Rocky Mountain News, 10/31/94.

1994: “Individuals Should Be Responsible and Accountable for Their Actions.”
""Texas is considered the third most dangerous state in the nation. No wonder, because in the last three years 7,700 criminals have been released early from prison. ""I will end early release of criminals and end parole altogether for rapists and child molesters. Violent juveniles and gang members will be tried and punished as adults. ""In welfare, the able-bodied will get work or more education or lose their benefits. ""I'm running for governor to change this state. We can right the wrongs in Texas if guided by one basic principle: Individuals should be responsible and accountable for their actions. '' Announcer: ""Bush, a successful business man with deep roots in Texas. Raised in Midland where he built and ran an oil business. No managing partner of the Texas Rangers. A family man, active in civic and church programs to help the disadvantaged. He's deeply dedicated to the Texas tradition of individual initiative and responsibility. '' Bush: ""I do not want Texas to look like New York, California or anywhere else. I want Texas to be Texas. '' Announcer: “Take a stand for Texas values. Bush for Governor.”
Preamble, an advertisement run by candidate Bush in his 1994 gubernatorial race, Houston Chronicle, 8/16/94

1998: Accountability and Responsibility for Government.
"Whether for government or individuals, I believe in accountability and responsibility. "For too long we've encouraged a culture that says, 'If it feels good do it, and blame somebody else if you've got a problem.' "We've got to change our culture to one based upon responsibility -- one that clearly says Texans are responsible for their actions, for their families and for their decisions in life. "As governor, I'm pushing policies that promote responsibility. Students, parents and teachers should all be accountable for results. If someone commits a crime in Texas, they should be held accountable. "And government has to be accountable to the taxpayers. I believe we've got to limit government to basic services. After that, government tries to do too much, it fails and people become cynical. "As Texans accept responsibility for their choices, we'll begin to see some real changes. "I'm an optimist. I know we'll succeed and usher in an era of responsibility and opportunity for all of Texas."
Vision, an advertisement run by Governor Bush in his 1998 gubernatorial race, Houston Chronicle, 8/15/98

1998: Challenges in Our Hearts, Not Outside Our Borders.
In his own words, George W. Bush ran for governor in 1994 to be "a catalyst for cultural change." He aimed to change state government so that individuals were more responsible for their behavior. To this day, a centerpiece of his standard political speech is that "the main threat to America today is moral decay" and that "today's challenges lie not so much outside our borders but in our hearts."
Alan Bernstein, Gov. Bush's positions on morals illustrate the Republican conflict, The Houston Chronicle, 6/21/98

1998: Ushering in the “Responsibility Era.”

Mr. Bush said he was sure that he would know how to lead the nation -- though his concept of a national vision seemed a bit unformed. "The reasons to do it are reasons you've heard me talk about some," he said. "Ushering in the responsibility era. Or the best education system in the country. And, of course, other national issues I would be confronted with."
Richard Berke, Gov. Bush Speaks Volumes in Hints on Presidency, New York Times, 7/15/98

1998: Blaming Somebody Else Worries Bush.
"I'm worried about a culture that says if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else," Bush likes to tell audiences.
Jill Lawrence, Out of Texas, a familiar but singular brand, USA Today, 9/8/98

1998: Responsible People Learn from Their Mistakes.
"Once you put your hand on the Bible and swear in [to public office], you must set a high standard and be responsible for your own actions. I have said that I was irresponsible at times. No question about it. And the question that baby boomers must be asked and must answer is, 'Have you learned from your mistakes?' -- not whether we have made mistakes. It's whether we have learned from the mistakes."
Lois Romano, Son on the Horizon; Gov. George Walker Bush Is Running Hard. But Is He Heading in His Father's Direction?, The Washington Post 9/24/98

2004: Ditto
Let me conclude by also talking about a contribution that rural America makes that's important for the future of our country, as well. It's the spirit of rural America. I oftentimes talk about the need to change this culture of ours in America from one that has said, if it feels good, why don't you just go ahead and do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each of us understands we're responsible for the decisions we make in life. And it's changing. The culture is changing in America. A lot of it has to do with the culture of rural America, a culture based upon faith and family.

When I say, "responsibility era," here's what I mean: I mean if you're a mother or a father, you're a responsible for loving your child with all your heart. That's your responsibility. I think people in rural America understand that well. I think it's -- I think it's a part of the culture of rural America. If you're in rural America, or anywhere in America, and you're worried about the quality of the education in which you live, you're responsible for doing something about it, see? Don't hope the faraway government in Washington solves your problem. Do something about it. Work with your teachers and thank your teachers, and get involved so that the quality of the education is what you want it to be.

Of course, you know I'm going to say this, but if you're a CEO in corporate America, you're responsible for telling the truth. That's part of what I mean by ushering in a responsibility era. You're responsible for telling the truth to your shareholder, you're responsible for telling the truth to your employees. You know, you oftentimes hear talk about neighborliness in rural America -- neighbors caring for neighbors. Part of a responsibility era is a neighbor loving your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. That's part of the responsibility era, as well.
George W. Bush, 4/15/04


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