It's not me saying it
A former White House official said yesterday that President Bush has failed to deliver on his promise to help religious groups serve the poor, the homeless and drug addicts because the administration lacks a genuine commitment to its "compassionate conservative" agenda.
David Kuo, who was deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for much of Bush's first term, said in published remarks that the White House reaped political benefits from the president's promise to help religious organizations win taxpayer funding to care for "the least, the last and the lost" in the United States. But he wrote: "There was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda."
Analyzing Bush's failure to secure $8 billion in promised funding for the faith-based initiative during his first term, Kuo said there was "snoring indifference" among Republicans and "knee-jerk opposition" among Democrats in Congress.
"Capitol Hill gridlock could have been smashed by minimal West Wing effort," Kuo wrote on Beliefnet.com, a Web site on religion. "No administration since [Lyndon B. Johnson's] has had a more successful legislative 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.' "
I don't expect Religious Right voters to ever grasp how fully they are used by Republicans. The GOP is more interested in Wall Street than in their religious supporters. Hence, their priorities will be things like privatizing social security and capping tort awards against crooked corporations.
Gay marriage? Abortion? Those won't be important until mid 2006, when Republicans talk the talk to gain those votes. But when it comes time to walk the walk? Their priorities are elsewhere.
Remember, Kuo is the second director of the White House's faith-based office to quit in disgust (John DiIulio was the first). This isn't an isolated personality conflict.
Kuo's column is here.