Losing Faith in Compassionate Conservatism

David Kuo, former deputy director of the President’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, has decided to speak candidly about his experience. His message: this administration doesn’t care about the poor. In a piece published on Beliefnet yesterday, Kuo writes, “From tax cuts to Medicare, the White House gets what the White House really wants. It never really wanted the ‘poor people stuff.’” As a result, while President Bush spoke a lot about providing funds to “groups caring for drug addicts, at-risk youth, and teen moms” most of that assistance never arrived. In a bizarre attempt to rebut Kuo’s charge that the administration was all talk on the issue, White House spokesman Trent Duffy noted, “The president has mentioned the initiative in every State of the Union.”

The White House ignored opportunities for the President to make good on his commitments. For example, Kuo writes that in 2001 former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) approached the White House “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 reaction: “The White House legislative affairs office rolled their eyes while others on senior staff yawned.”