Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Poor People Stuff
I'm not an advocate of faith-based funding initiatives from the government, though there are surely worse things. Still, it would be nice if people at least knew that the President was only giving lip service to the idea as a political ploy (with the occasional big first-term grant to a church group in a swing state).

But hey don't believe me, listen to David Kuo, who makes now the second deputy director of the White House faith-based initiative to have resigned in dismay and come out talking about it:
No administration since LBJ's has had a more successful legislative track record than this one. From tax cuts to Medicare, the White House gets what the White House really wants. It never really wanted the "poor people stuff."

...In December 2001, for instance, Sen. Daschle approached the Domestic Policy Council with an offer to pass a charity relief bill that contained many of the president's campaign tax incentive policies plus new money for the widely-popular and faith-based-friendly Social Services Block Grant. The White House legislative affairs office rolled their eyes while others on senior staff yawned. We had to leave the offer on the table.
Conservative Christian donors, faith leaders, and opinion makers grew to see the initiative as an embodiment of the president's own faith. Democratic opposition was understood as an attack on his personal faith. And since this community's most powerful leaders - men like James Dobson of Focus on the Family - weren't anti-poverty leaders, they didn't care about money. The Faith-Based Office was the cross around the White Houses' neck showing the president's own faith orientation. That was sufficient.
Still, this guy prefaces everything with the standard "but Bush is a great man, full of sincerity and compassion..." like they all do before exposing him to be just the opposite.

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