Go Back to School! Education Sec. Completely Screws Up Reagan's Famous 'Nine Most Terrifying Words' Quote

Nick Kangadis | November 29, 2023
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While the Department of Education (ED) has seen its better days, with a growing portion of people believing it has outlived its usefulness, when the head of the department seems to be more dim than any of the students its ever attempted to aid, that sound you hear might be the death nell for said department.

ED Secretary Miguel Cardona was speaking during a meeting with western state governors in early November when he tried to invoke the words of former President Ronald Reagan. The only problem? Not only did he get the quote wrong, but he completely changed the context of the late president’s statement.

“You know, we’re going to set up follow-up calls with every governor we met with to make sure we’re available,” Cardona said. “As, I think it was President Reagan said, ‘We’re from the government. We’re here to help.’”

(Buzzer sound) Oh, I’m sorry, Secretary Cardona. That was inaccurate and misrepresented. But we have nice parting gifts for you.

In truth, Reagan famously said the following, in context (August 12, 1986):

Before we begin, I thought I’d mention that one reason for our visit to Illinois, especially this morning at the State Fair, is to bring a special message to America’s farmers, one of concern and hope.

Amid general prosperity that has brought record employment, rising incomes and the lowest inflation in more than 20 years, some sectors of our farm economy are hurting, and their anguish is a concern to all Americans.

I think you all know that I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” A great many of the current problems on the farm were caused by government imposed embargoes and inflation, not to mention government’s long history of inflicting hap hazard policies.

So, the way in which Cardona used Reagan’s quote completely and totally misrepresents the true meaning of “The Great Communicator’s” words. Not only that, but he got the quote wrong. It was “we’re,” but “I’m.”

The irony of the Secretary of the Department of Education getting a famous quote wrong, while trying to use it to his advantage, should be lost on no one. It’s actually pretty sad that Cardona, whether he intentionally got the quote wrong or simply didn’t understand the meaning of it, is supposed to be the head of what represents our education system to the world.