The Color of Bush's Compassion

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Lawrence Weschler, one of America's foremost chroniclers of the unique and peculiar, notes in an LA Times op-ed piece (reg. req.) yesterday that Bush's campaign Web page's section on "compassion" features mostly photographs of the Prez with Americans of the black persuasion. As Weschler's amusing invective puts it:

First one up: short-sleeved Bush, holding a black kid in his arms, a bleacher full of black kids behind him, and he's merrily waving to the crowd. Click "next." And it's Bush at a Waco Habitat for Humanity building site, his arm draped around a black woman, his other hand tapping the shoulder of another of the black construction volunteers. Next: Bush waving to the Urban League. Next: Bush working a crowd, a black ? or maybe, in this case, South Indian ? kid prominently featured in the foreground, gazing on in amazement. Bush in an African thatch-roofed schoolroom.
…….
And now, there he is again, reading to a different roomful of black schoolchildren. It's amazing ? photo after photo, 19 in all, and almost every single one of them giving further testimony to the astonishing capaciousness of the guy's Compassion, by which we are given to understand: He just has no trouble at all touching black people! Hammering with them, bagging groceries, tottering alongside them on weirdly high stools.

It's like Ben Hur among the lepers ? the guy doesn't hesitate, he just goes and does it! Why, the Compassion page even includes a photo of him standing next to his own secretary of State, Colin Powell!

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  1. Bush didn’t make the rules, the “liberals” did.

    If you want to see how bad it is on the other side, see Hyphenated-Americans are John Kerry’s Strength! and the next post, You’re a Special-American!.

    One would almost think Kerry was a king reaching out to the tribal chieftains in his land.

  2. Reminds me of an old gag from Weekend Update: “Jimmy Carter secretly touches Negroes.”

  3. This is H&R? Must be a slow news day.

  4. Holy cow, a Los Angeles Times-related post that isn’t by Matt Welch! What’s next — somebody besides Nick Gillespie citing the Cincinnati Enquirer?

  5. Lonewacko, if that is your real name..

    The liberals made the rules? What rules are those?

    The rule that a president should actually give a shit about groups and specifically reach out to marginalized citizens, and not just cynically pose with black people in the name of “compassion” while his policies completely screw them? That rule?

    Oooh, those damn liberals. Always trying to include everyone in the democracy. When will they ever learn?

  6. Beat me to it again, Jesse.

  7. Anthony: The rule that a president should actually give a shit about groups and specifically reach out to marginalized citizens, and not just cynically pose with black people in the name of “compassion” while his policies completely screw them? That rule?

    Ahhh, so you are asserting that Lincoln was a Democrat?

    I?m guessing in your version of reality it?s also the Democrats that voted for the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the Republicans who were opposed to it?

    Anthony: Oooh, those damn liberals. Always trying to include everyone in the democracy. When will they ever learn?

    You really are gullible ? aren?t you?

    How many minorities occupy top positions on Kerry?s campaign team?

    How many minorities were in the Dean campaign?

    Democrats think that niggers are still their slaves, and that is exactly how they treat us.

  8. Once upon on time the democratic party only believed in enslaving black people. Ah, progress!

  9. Poor little LoneWacko…just out of curiosity I followed his/her/it’s link. I could only find one or two comments out of the many many entries.

    Enough said.

  10. Whoa, I didn’t realize that I had stumbled upon the Kerry for Prez web site.

  11. I knew lonely-wacker and snake-head could be counted on to post insightful comments on this one. Guys, it’s Friday, couldn’t you just have chuckle and move along? I suppose the democrats are also responisble for you two having no sense of humor.

  12. xray: I suppose the democrats are also responsible for you two having no sense of humor.

    As a fanatical Democrat the real joke is probably just going right over your head.

    But you should keep in mind that ?humor? is in the eye of the beholder. 😉

  13. It’s a politician’s job to kiss hands and shake babies…. errrr, wait a minute.

    So Bush/Kerry/Dean/Nader wrap themselves in the cloak of racial tolerance by allowing themselves to be seen around black people for the the benefit of a good photo op. It doesn’t mean a god damn thing. The only thing these jokers, Democrat or Republican, care about is how many votes come in at the end of election day. If playing “nice white guy” helps them get into office, they;ll do it.

    Once they’ve won, they can get down to the business of forgetting all the campaign promises that made to them.

  14. The liberals made the rules? What rules are those?… The rule that a president should actually give a shit about groups and specifically reach out to marginalized citizens

    Look everybody, he’s self-describing!

    One of the “rules” is that all members of a group think alike, and that “groups” should be reached out to, preferably through “leaders.” Those leaders will then be funded by the Ford Foundation. However, that last bit is not a strong requirement.

    I’m glad you used the word “marginalized” instead of “oppressed.” It shows you’re learning!

  15. Mark S.: So Bush/Kerry/Dean/Nader wrap themselves in the cloak of racial tolerance by allowing themselves to be seen around black people for the benefit of a good photo op. It doesn’t mean a god damn thing. The only thing these jokers, Democrat or Republican, care about is how many votes come in at the end of election day. If playing “nice white guy” helps them get into office, they;ll do it.

    This sounds more like you projecting your own personal biases on to others.

    The fact is the Republicans have a proven track record, whereas the Democrats are merely race(ist) panderers.

    But lately I?ve been hearing a lot of desperate Democrats try and play the card that there is no substantive difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals. Word-manglers in action ?

  16. Serpent: Yup, a proven track record which they have chosen to hi-lite with lots of pics of GW touching black folks.

  17. Serpent,

    “Ahhh, so you are asserting that Lincoln was a Democrat?”

    Ending slavery wasn’t his primary concern.

    “I?m guessing in your version of reality it?s also the Democrats that voted for the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the Republicans who were opposed to it?”

    It should be noted that genesis of the ideological strain that controls the Republican party today – that is Barry Goldwater and his ilk – also opposed it. It was “liberal” Republicans, the sort of people the Republican party only tolerates these days, that helped the Democrats in that vote. Let us also not forget that forty-six of the votes needed for passage came from Democrats, and that Strom Thurmond switched to the Republican party over the Act. Furthermore, it should also not be forgot that the primary mover behind the Act was LBJ; without his efforts, it is unlikely that the bill would have been passed.

    Your typically a historical analysis was quite pleasant to skewer, BTW.

  18. So we have two examples of Republicans on the right side of this issue, one from 40 years ago and one from 140 years ago. Well done.

    Lincoln wouldn’t have anything to do with you.

    And surrounding yourself with token minorities is meaningless. Policies, real benefits, not photo-ops.

  19. The Serpent,

    Also, regarding Lincoln, it should also be noted that it was black slaves who forced the issue of emancipation on the Union government by fleeing en masse to the Union lines. Indeed, Union generals declaring them “contraband,” and thus a spoil of war, was the first step in a process that would have only occurred only by the actions of the slaves. People always sell short the efforts of blacks to free themselves.

  20. Mark S. Actually, I am a fanatical supporter of the Bloc Pot. (I live in Montreal. Which means I’m worse than a democrat in Serpent’s eyes.)

  21. Man, don’t lump Nader in with the status quo crew.

  22. “This sounds more like you projecting your own personal biases on to others.”

    No, just reminding the audience that all politicians care about is keeping their jobs and they’ll do anything to stay in office.

    That’s not a bias, that’s a fact.

    “The fact is the Republicans have a proven track record, whereas the Democrats are merely race(ist) panderers.”

    I don’t deny that the Dems have pandered to minorities with promises of more and more programs aimed at them. However, the fact still remaines that after the Democrats swung to the Left and “embraced” civil rights in the 1960s, a lot of Dixiecrats left the party in protest. In order to make gains they previously didn’t have in the South, the GOP started courting these racist throwbacks during the 70s and early 80s.

    Needless to say, this move didn’t please many minority groups and the sterotype of “racist republicans” was engrained in their psyche while the Dems continued to shower them with welfare money and affirmative action programs. In the end, any gains the GOP had previously made as a civil rights leader were squandered in the name of poltical gainsmanship.

    Prinicples are so easy changed when money and/or power can be gained.

  23. The point that so many of you are missing is the incongruity of “compassion” being associated _exclusively_ with “hangs around black people.” Is that what “compassion” means to Bush? Yes, he mocks death row inmates who plead for their lives, but, hey, he rubs heads of little black boys! Isn’t that compassionate?

    Of course, the underlying subtext of the “compassion” section seems to be not about trying to attract black voters, but rather trying to prove to white voter’s that he’s a “kinder, gentler” Republican because, after all, he has all these pictures of himself standing with black people! He’s compassionate that way!

  24. Hell, I wish the majority of Republicans in Congress today were ideologically like Goldwater and “his ilk” (I can almost sense your disgust when you wrote that). And didn’t Goldwater oppose the Civil Right Act because of the right to associate or something? I’m no history whiz, so I’m sure you’ll “skewer” me too and then act all self-satisfied and smug.

  25. Geotech,

    Goldwater argued that it expanded the federal government’s power too much (amongst other things). From my knowledge of Goldwater, if had any racist inclinations they were likely of the Archie Bunker variety – which was rather typical of his generation. He wasn’t a KKK member in other words, nor was she the sort of man who would not shake a black man’s hands (he wasn’t like some of my relatives in other words).

    My overarching point was to skewer a Republican myth that I see repeated quite often on-line – that they were the primary force behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

  26. Geotech,

    Also, when I think of Goldwater I am not disgusted; indeed, I agree with him on many things – such as his position on religion and the state. In fact, I don’t know if Goldwater could be a member of the modern Republican party given his views on religion and politics. He certainly wouldn’t be a leader of the party.

  27. Look! More compassion during a visit to West Virginia!

    (Hey, West Virginia has the second-lowest per capita income in the nation. But somehow I doubt this picture will show up on the campaign website.)

  28. “So Bush/Kerry/Dean/Nader wrap themselves in the cloak of racial tolerance by allowing themselves to be seen around black people for the the benefit of a good photo op. It doesn’t mean a god damn thing.”

    Which is why Bush hired African-Americans for two of the highest positions in his Administration?

    The sooner we quit worrying about what color (government) employees are and become more concerned with how well they do their jobs, the better.

  29. Gunnels still doesn’t get it. Since WWII, the Republican stance has consistently been against race-consciousness (which is devastating to blacks) while the Democrats consistent stances has been in favor of it. Even the Dems who changed parties changed their point of view on this first.

    But that’s neither here nor there. Regardless of Lawrence Weschler’s fevered racist maunderings, Bush–and Republicans in general–are better today on race than Democrats. I don’t really give a damn about photographs. The greatest tragedy in modern American politics is the identification of officially oppressed groups (just being officially identified as such is bad enough) with the Democrats, whose racist bean counting will keep them permanently oppressed.

  30. Gary

    I think you’re essentially correct about Republicans and the CRA of 1964. Goldwater opposed the law on the grounds that it expanded federal power and created a double jeopardy situation for those charged under it. However he was not a racist (even in the Archie Bunker sense).

    While his stand led to the realignment of party affilliations in the south, I think he was slightly embarassed being associated with ex-dems like Trent Lott.

    LBJ on the other hand had displayed many racist tendecies in his career. However he saw the writing on the wall and pushed the CRA. To his credit (it’s about all I’ll give the evil bastard) I think he did see the rightness of ending Jim Crow. I don’t think he’d have done it absent the political necessity.

    At the time I believed that federal intervention in the south was necessary (and constitutional) and was disappointed that Goldwater didn’t. I supported him on almost every other issue and would have voted for him if I had been old enough.

  31. The rule that a president should actually give a shit about groups and specifically reach out to marginalized citizens, and not just cynically pose with black people in the name of “compassion” while his policies completely screw them?

    What policies are you talking about?

  32. Gary forgot to mention that Goldwater wasn’t any too fond of Richard Nixon either.

    Goldwater was okay, man. After all, look who his speech writer was–I’ll give y’all a hint, his intitals were Karl Hess.

    Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice………

  33. In this election year I find myself pondering this question: Who was the last truly great American President?

    I am sad to report that my brain replies:
    George Washington.

    It’s been downhill since then, my friends, albeit a slow journey. The current GW is but 1/10 the man, with 1/20 the intellect. But – and even sadder – I prefer him over the alternative.

    Our political system which, after all, reflects our culture, can produce nothing better than Bush/Kerry.

    How pathetic.

  34. Captain,

    “Gunnels still doesn’t get it. Since WWII, the Republican stance has consistently been against race-consciousness (which is devastating to blacks) while the Democrats consistent stances has been in favor of it.”

    That’s a load of crap. I grew in a Republican southern family; don’t you tell that “race consciousness” wasn’t part and parcel of the Southern Republican agenda over the past thirty years.

    “Even the Dems who changed parties changed their point of view on this first.”

    No they didn’t; they changed parties because the Republicans became the “white” party. Why do you think Thurmond changed parties after 1964? It sure as hell didn’t have anything to do with liking black people! It was to court southern, white voters. I grew up in the South during this period; I know what was happening before my very eyes, and Republicanism in the South didn’t gain a hold because Southern Republicans wanted to be neutral on issues of race.

  35. Isaac Bertram,

    “While his stand led to the realignment of party affilliations in the south, I think he was slightly embarassed being associated with ex-dems like Trent Lott.”

    Anyone with an ounce of moral fibre would be embarresed to a associate with scum like Lott, Thurmond, etc. The mere fact that the Republican party was willing to get into bed with men like that has always made me loathe to vote Republican. Of course I also am loathe to for the Democrats, so that means I’m fucked. 🙂

    “LBJ on the other hand had displayed many racist tendecies in his career.”

    LBJ was a classic Archie Bunker type; however, he was a populist, and this made him amenable to helping blacks throughout his career. Southern populists fall into two categories – the LBJ, help every poor man category, and the racist George Wallace variety.

  36. GW (Washington) in ’04!

    Ashcroft’s last campaign proves that a dead man can win an election.

    I vote for Dubbya.
    Washington.

  37. For decades, the South was solid Democrat. These Dixiecrats openly opposed racial equality by law. Later, times changed and they changed, and they supported (quite correctly) racial equality through law, while most other Democrats (and some Republicans) supported racial inequality by law (aka, affirmative action). Later, these reformed Democrats became Republicans.

    Now some people, like Jesse Jackson and Al Gore, claim to be able to read people’s minds and figure when someone says “I don’t think people should be judged by the color of their skin” they mean the opposite. But in fact, Republicans and reformed Dixiecrats, like Strom Thrumond and Jesse Helms, did have the right recipe to get rid of racism in this country, while the Democrats prefer a system that locks in racism permanently.

  38. Captain,

    Dixiecrats did not change parties because they suddenly were conscious that their views were racist, they joined because the Republican party became the new “white” party.

  39. Captain,

    I have to admit that I find your willingness to obfuscate and apologize for Southern Republican racism to be disgusting.

  40. Considering that both the Repubs and the Dems are primarily concerned not with ideology, but staying in power, any group that attaches itself to one party is going to get nothing but pandering.

    For an example on the other side, look at the pro-life movement. Aside from Reagan’s “Mexico City policy” forbidding govt funding of organizations promoting abortion, Republican presidents since RvW have done practically nothing to advance the pro-life cause. Why? Because they know full well that pro-lifers are never going to vote Democratic, while the pro-choice wing of their party might.

    Truth is, any group that wants to be heard has to either maintain its independence or split between the parties. Senior citizens have done that quite well, hence the ferocity with which politicians address Medicare, “saving” Social Security, health care, and other issues that this 27-year-old has no reason to care about.

  41. I notice my “hard-working Americans” fell on deaf ears even on this site of hypersensitive, thoughtful folk.

    Here are some more epithets that bug sensitive moi. I’m blowing them out my blunderbuss:

    rankism
    illegal alien
    level playing field
    exporting jobs
    sucking sound
    securing our borders
    population explosion
    dying for democracy

  42. I’m cursed with a pink skin, but am sick and tired of being patronized as a “hard-working American” just because I’ve managed to stay out of jail and because my investment portfolio is so anemic I’m forced to go to Dilbert’s office 40 hours a week.

  43. Gary Gunnels,

    Some good points. Nixon’s southern strategy is the reason people like Tom Delay, Trent Lott and Dick Army became Congressional leaders of the GOP, instead of Dixiecrats.

    And as for the suggestion that Dixiecrats Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms switched to the GOP as part of their “reform” from racism–well, I just about laughed myself into an aneurism.

    That being said, I don’t find the Democrats’ claims of inclusiveness to be very convincing. I suspect it’s a lot more about electoral politics. That, and the people running the welfare state and most civil rights organizations take a proprietary (or plantationary) attitude toward “their” minority groups.

    Between the Republicans and the professional “civil rights leadership,” I don’t think there are many good guys here.

  44. It really is astonishingly rich to see a leftist castigating BUSH for pandering to minorities.

    I have to repeat for emphasis:

    Astonishingly. Fucking. Rich.

    At least he never said he hoped to be remembered as a black president, a remark so insulting to their intelligence that I can’t believe blacks will tolerate it.

  45. If you wanted to see the most vile racism in the world all one had to do is attend a union meeting in the 70’s.(or belong to one) As a hyphenated American(hispanic/American Indian) I had that opportunity and became a libertarian overnight. The rank and file democrats were assholes.

    In the many years since my union membership expired I have had the opportunity to associate with the dread republicans often and have never experienced the hatred I saw at the union workplace which was dominated by party line democrats.

    I happen to believe that GWB, who has a hispanic in his family, is far more honest to minorities than Kerry who’s blueblood lines appear to be pandering for votes only.

    I have also learned over the years that tree hugging democrats will stab you in the back, in a heartbeat, while smiling at you-the vile republicans will tell you to fuckoff to your face……what do you think this “hyphen” prefers?

  46. P.S.–Gary, what about Sen. Byrd? Why does he never figure in to people calculations? Why do Republican black eyes on race make them ESPECIALLY wicked where as Democrat black eyes on race are just a bit unfortunate but nothing to judge the party over?

    Answer: We’re all partisans whether we admit it or not.

  47. Wow, I was under the impression that the left had gotten a clue and wasn’t gonna take blacks for granted any more.

  48. I’m not going to defend the Democratic Party’s stances on racial issues. Nor will I deny that the Republicans’ stated goals of color-blindness are quite worthy.

    But for anybody who thinks that the Southern Republican leadership abandoned the Democrats to become color-blind, well, let me sell you this beach-front lot in Utah.

    Besides, for some people color-blindness really means that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division shouldn’t notice the skin color of people being pushed around, no matter how blatant the color bias might be.

  49. Sage,

    “Why do Republican black eyes on race make them ESPECIALLY wicked where as Democrat black eyes on race are just a bit unfortunate but nothing to judge the party over?”

    I didn’t grow up in a Democratic family, or amongst Democrats. Are Democrats hypocrites on the issue? Sure.

    Gawdamman,

    Racism in Unions in America is as old as the concept of Unions are. Indeed, the political ideology that Unions have often most attracted to, that is populism, has, in most of its forms, been tainted with racism, xenophobia, etc.

  50. When I was in college, I used to help one of my roommates with his papers. He was a terrible writer, and his early drafts were always confusing, ungrammatical gibberish – but not the usual simple, broken sentence, small word gibberish. There were always 50 cent words and complicated sentence structure throughout the paper, but mangled and nonsensical. It finally dawned on me what was going on – he was trying to write like the academic writers he read in text books and handouts. And to him, with his limited writing skills, the gibberish he produced was indistinguishable from the real thing. It looked the same to him, it sounded the same to him, and he made sure it contained many of the same words and terms. But it was still nonsense, and worse – it was pretentious, phony, striving nonsense.

    Bush’s “Compassion” website, and frankly, virtually all rhetoric from white conservatives on racial issues, reminds me of my roommate’s first drafts. The thing is, by the time that website hit the net, it had been reviewed by dozens of highly paid, experienced experts, and they all thought it was a-ok.

  51. Gawdaman, the racist union members you describe have one very strong characteristic in common with Dixiecrats – the tendency to vote Republican.

    The people you describe, far from being “tree hugging democrats,” are far more accurately described as “Reagan Democrats,” and have become as solid a Republican voting bloc as racist southerners.

  52. I don’t know about that, joe. I’ve known some virulently racist union members in my day, and they follow the union line and vote Democrat all the time.

    Michigan doesn’t get the majority of its Democrats from Ann Arbor, that’s for sure.

  53. I just love that Brian used the phrase “black persuasion”.

    So Brian, exactly who persuaded them to be black and how did he or she do it?

  54. Has anyone seen this story? It seems that it just started getting more press, and now the site suddenly disappeared.

    http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:qMT-QchcURoJ:www.counterbias.com/news001.html+site:counterbias.com&hl=en
    Dead: http://www.counterbias.com/

    George W. Bush, friend of the black man & woman.

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