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George W. Bush to Speak Before Chamber of Commerce

By Vickie Stangl
Analysis | June 8, 2011

WICHITA, Kan. - George W. Bush has been invited to speak before the Wichita Chamber of Commerce on November 3rd, 2011.

Citizen activists in Wichita are outraged by the decision to invite Bush. It does appear to be a rather puzzling choice. The Chamber is either suffering from acute amnesia or else does not truly believe in its own goals of creating a positive and strong economic climate by electing "pro-business" candidates since it has no problem inviting a former official who nearly drove the American economy over the cliff.

Bush not only created the nation's crippling deficit by committing troops to fight in two extremely expensive wars, but also gave tax breaks to the most wealthy in society. On top of these grave errors, the banking industry and financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers were running wild with their derivatives scheme by passing off bad mortgages to another company and making their cut until the bubble burst and the scheme was realized. Even as companies were run aground and people evicted from their homes, the CEOs of the very companies that had created the financial meltdown were awarded huge bonuses for their incompetence and thievery. This pathetic story of greed and more greed continues to threaten any real economic stability and financial recovery in America.

And the man at the helm when all of this was going down, George W. Bush, THIS is the man the Chamber is bringing to town to speak?

The Chamber appears to be nothing but a conduit for those who are already formidable players, become even more formidable and working deals for each other. I used to think the Chamber of Commerce was a kind of "Good Housekeeping" stamp of approval that signified a business was honest and would stand by its product. Today, the Chamber appears to be just a republican club seeking influence with elected officials at the local, state and federal level to provide subsidies and other incentives to prop up and protect businesses. Of course, the Chamber holds great disdain when those same government entities waste precious tax dollars to help the poor, fund the arts, educate children or fight for fair labor standards.

As a very powerful lobbying force in D.C., the Chamber occupies a prominent place at the table of government. No one should be shocked that snake oil salesmen are still in high demand to make sure the business sector receives favorable bills, programs and other government largess it would deny to other groups and call it socialist/liberal handouts to losers who are undeserving.

The Chamber has a simple mantra: Republicans are pro-business; anything else is un-American and bad for business which is astonishing when you look at the Bush record. I admit Bush was good for the top business leaders and CEO's of the nation, but what about the rest of those Chamber members who surely must be uncomfortable with this dubious selection? The Chamber has a lot of nerve talking about building a strong business climate and inviting George W. Bush to the podium as if he built a strong and financially sound America.

With over 5,000 deaths in Iraq, almost 2,000 in Afghanistan, families torn apart, lives that will never be the same, and countless Americans without savings, retirement, or decent jobs, it is staggering to think how little businessmen and politicians have been held accountable for their crimes.

From thieves in the banking and financial industry, to the elected and appointed officials from both parties looking the other way to line their own campaign coffers or take top jobs in the very industries they were to regulate, Americans now bear the brunt of the poor decisions made through their gross incompetence and greed. Americans did not expect to be robbed and pillaged by their own government and business leaders.

This Chamber's invitation is just a slap in the face to all Americans who still suffer from the Bush Administration's business acumen. Wichitans have every right to be outraged.


13 Comments

For all the good it will do, people can call the Chamber office and request that the invitation be rescinded. The number and e-mail are below: 316-265-7771
E-mail: info@wichitachamber.org.

I don't know if this will do any good, but it did make a difference when Rumsfeld was invited.

I'm sure you'll be inundated by posts from people who say we need to give tax breaks and subsidies to business so our economy will improve. That's bosh. In the ten years since the Bush tax cuts, the economy has gone steadily backwards. Right now, the Republicans in Congress and in Kansas are seeing to it that it stays that way. We really do need to get those people out of office.


Vickie,

The problem with your view is that it is too nuanced. Big business doesn't want you to think that way. When you think "pro-business" you imagine an environment where business works for the good of the overall economy. When groups like the Chamber of Commerce think "pro-business" they want to know if a policy makes it harder for them to make more money or not. Most "pro-business" groups are not concerned with the overall economy.

Bush lowered taxes and deregulated so he is "pro-business." It's unfortunate that a more critical look at the issue, like the one you provided, is not more widely believed.


The Chamber of Commerce is about as interested in small or family size businesses as the Farm Bureau is in small or family size farms.


Vicki, forgive me for saying this but your article has partisanship written all over it. I take it your a pretty adamant Democrat. If you want to be mad at anyone, be mad at the DNC for not supplying a better candidate in 2004. What were they thinking when they nominated John Kerry? For that matter, why did they put Al Gore in in 2000 when people clearly were tired of another extension of 8 years of the Clintons.

And btw, what Bush did was long ago and much of it was approved by a Democrat controlled congress. Few of the policies have been turned around by Obama in fact, Obama has extended those tax breaks and has started 2 new wars now (Libya and now Yemen).

But go ahead, protest Bush. Maybe for fun wear an Al Sharpton haircut and lead the crowd in a Howard Dean rebel yell. It wont matter because any protest now is more of a cheap shot, feel good thing anyways. I don't understand why democrats waste their energies protesting ex-presidents and wont hold their own political leadership accountable to the values they hold? If you really wanted to make a change the next time the DNC sends out its request for donations you'd say no or at least give them an earful.


Brad--You make some valid points. Even though I'm a life-long Democrat, I refuse to send money to the DNC and I haven't sent money to the state party for years. I hope under Joan Wagnon the state party will become more interested in people who live outside of northeastern Kansas, but I'm not holding my breath. I stay active in the Party in the hopes that I can change things, but right now I'm pretty frustrated.

As for Bush, I do intend to protest him and the Chamber, but I don't have the stamina I used to have for carrying on too many battles. Yes, Vickie is partisan, but even some Republicans think Bush went off the rails in more ways than one. Two long, expensive, basically unwinnable wars? Tax cuts that couldn't be sustained? Selling out to big business?

Somehow sanity has to come into play in our political landscape. The Wichita Chamber isn't helping in that regard.


Northeastern Kansas? I live in Johnson County so I guess that was addressed to my area. But you really cant blame the party since Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth counties are where the money is. Dennis Moore was a great democratic congressman.

It's often been said that working with democrats is like trying to herd cats. In Kansas the parties far left elements (radical luddites, pro-choice, anti-family, anti-christian) from Lawrence and the union activists from Wichita ruin any candidate who is pro business, pro christian, or pro life. Leaving those people to vote republican.

I wish we just had candidates who focus on jobs and economic development.


Brad- I think everything you hate about the party is the entire reason I am a Democrat. I am pro choice, pro family, Christian and a union activist. We deserve a party to make our voices heard as well.


Marcia--Me too. I'm all those things you are. Also, I do believe government should stay out of people's personal decisions, which I find most Republicans don't agree should be the case. In fact, the only time Republicans want government off their backs is when it comes to protecting the public from bad business decisions and getting huge corporations from paying their fair share of taxes.

Why do you think Democrats and union members aren't Christian, Brad? Besides religion is another area in which government should stay out of our lives.

I've been a Democratic Party activist for years and I think I know a little bit more about the Party than you do, Brad. Even though it can be frustrating, the "herding cats" aspect of the Party is one of its best characteristics. Democrats don't have to march in lockstep with Party leaders. Given what happened to Newt Gingrich when he disagreed with Paul Ryan's radical Medicare overhaul, I doubt if that's the case with Republicans.


Brad--I do agree Dennis Moore did a great job for all Kansans.


Actually, things are not as they seem. I was a registered republican for many years when I lived in Overland Park, Kansas. I try to keep my articles to a certain length and since the focus of this article was to discuss the decision to bring George W.Bush to speak before the Chamber, my focus was not on the democratic party or it's former heads and leaders who were also complicit on many grounds for the growing financial crisis before Bush, but to focus on decisions made during the Bush Administration or policies that were continued etc.,
Also, do not assume I am a huge fan of the current president or have a love fest for the democrats. I am very critical of the Kansas Democratic party and have personally written and called the state office or contacted state leaders about my concerns. As far as wasting energy on protesting ex-presidents it is wise to remember that Bush still commands power and raises big money to push issues many Americans find repulsive and destructive for their lives and the nation's prosperity therefore, it is entirely appropriate for citizens to raise their voices against his invitation to speak here in Wichita.


Actually I have a FIL who was a Kansas State representative to the 2000 convention in Los Angeles so I know quite alot about what goes on within the party. He told me about alot of things that happen behind closed doors away from the cameras at that convention. It's also hypocritical the way the democrats are handling the sex scandal involving congressman Weiner.

Trust me when I say I also disagree with many things republicans do. They give away way too much to big corporations without thinking about creating jobs and taking care of the needy. I only wish we had a 3rd alternative.


BTW, since you all are from western Kansas, what did you think about Bob Dole?


Brad, I believe most of the commenters above are from central Kansas, not western Kansas ...


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