, the former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
, has written a sad and angry article for Belief.net
about the Bush administration's "minimal commitment"
to funding faith-based community services. Kuo writes about his disenchantment with the White House: "From tax cuts to Medicare, the White House gets what the White House really wants. It never really wanted the "poor people stuff."
The White House had better use for the money promised for faith-based projects: "In June 2001, the promised tax incentives for charitable giving were stripped at the last minute from the $1.6 trillion tax cut legislation to make room for the estate-tax repeal that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy."
Kuo continues, "over time, it became clear that the White House didn't need to expend Bush's political capital for "pro-poor" legislation."
And why shouldn't the White House be pragmatic? Kuo writes, "They could afford to. Who was going to hold them accountable? Drug addicts, alcoholics, poor moms, struggling urban social service organizations, and pastors aren't quite the NRA."
The president only has to give lip-service to the idea of faith-based initiatives in order to reap political capitol: "The Faith-Based Office was the cross around the White Houses' neck showing the president's own faith orientation. That was sufficient."
And don't blame the Democrats entirely (although Kuo feels they're partially responsible): "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."
So much for compassionate conservatism.
Former Bush Aide: 'Minimal commitment' from the White House plus Democratic hostility hinder the faith-based plan