“Mr. Bush is presiding over a right-wing juggernaut,” complained former NBC News reporter Bob Herbert in his New York Times column on Monday. Herbert, an on-air reporter for NBC News from 1991 to 1993, asked rhetorically in his March 26 column: “Did Americans really want a President who would smile in the faces of poor children even as he was scheming to cut their benefits?”
Herbert suggested the “snickering you hear is the sound of Mr. Bush recalling the great fun he had playing his little joke on the public during the presidential campaign. He presented himself as a different kind of Republican, a friend to the downtrodden.” The twice-a-week Times columnist argued: “The simple truth is that the oversized tax cuts and Mr. Bush's devotion to the ideologues and the well-heeled special interests that backed his campaign are playing havoc with the real-world interests not just of children, but of most ordinary Americans.”
An excerpt from Herbert’s March 26 column in which he equated the willingness of a politician to spend other people’s money with compassion and failed to consider the actual effectiveness of the specific programs “cut” by Bush:
Is this what the electorate wanted?
Did Americans really want a President who would smile in the faces of poor children even as he was scheming to cut their benefits? Did they want a man who would fight like crazy for enormous tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting funds for programs to help abused and neglected kids?….
An article by the Times's Robert Pear disclosed last week that President Bush will propose cuts in the already modest funding for child-care assistance for low-income families. And he will propose cuts in funding for programs designed to investigate and combat child abuse. And he wants cuts in an important new program to train pediatricians and other doctors at children's hospitals across the U.S.
The cuts are indefensible, unconscionable. If implemented, they will hurt many children.
The President also plans to cut off all of the money provided by Congress for an “early learning” trust fund, which is an effort to improve the quality of child care and education for children under 5.
What's going on?
That snickering you hear is the sound of Mr. Bush recalling the great fun he had playing his little joke on the public during the presidential campaign. He presented himself as a different kind of Republican, a friend to the downtrodden, especially children. He hijacked the copyrighted slogan of the liberal Children's Defense Fund, and then repeated the slogan like a mantra, telling anyone who would listen that his administration would “leave no child behind.”
Mr. Bush has only been President two months and already he's leaving the children behind….
There are many important reasons to try to expand the accessibility of child care. One is that stable child care for low-income families has become a cornerstone of successful efforts to move people from welfare to work.
Members of Congress had that in mind when they allocated $2 billion last year for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. That was an increase of $817 million, enabling states to provide day care to 241,000 additional children.
Now comes Mr. Bush with a proposal to cut the program by $200 million.
Is that his idea of compassion?
The simple truth is that the oversized tax cuts and Mr. Bush's devotion to the ideologues and the well-heeled special interests that backed his campaign are playing havoc with the real-world interests not just of children, but of most ordinary Americans.
Mr. Bush is presiding over a right- wing juggernaut that has already reneged on his campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions (an important step in the fight against global warming); that has repealed a set of workplace safety rules that were designed to protect tens of millions of Americans but were opposed as too onerous by business groups; that has withdrawn new regulations requiring a substantial reduction in the permissible levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen, in drinking water; and that has (to the loud cheers of the most conservative elements in the G.O.P.) ended the American Bar Association's half-century-old advisory role in the selection of federal judges, thus making it easier to appoint judges with extreme right-wing sensibilities….
Mr. Bush misled the public during his campaign. He eagerly donned the costume of the compassionate conservative and deliberately gave the impression that if elected he would lead a moderate administration that would govern, as much as possible, in a bipartisan manner….
Just how devastating are Bush’s cuts? Scroll back up and you’ll notice that Herbert cited how Bush has proposed cutting one program by $200 million after Congress last year hiked its funding by $817 million.
So, Bush is proposing $617 million more for the program than was allocated to it under President Bill Clinton just two years ago. Yet the children of America survived.
(This report courtesy of the Media Research Center.)