"Compassionate" Conservatives

Digby (italics mine):

Let's face facts. The extremely dishonest approach that the Republicans are taking to bring African Americans on board with their privatized personal retirement plan is just downright racist. I'm sure that the creationist right believes that the fact black men don't live as long as whites is God's intention but the truth is that they wouldn't die younger if it weren't for poverty, disease and crime which are immoral reasons in a rich country such as ours. It's bad enough that this is happening today, but the administration is selling the idea as something that will continue for at least the next forty years as a selling point for destroying social security. It's is another case of their outrageous pomo up-is-downism.

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This is racist on a number of levels, not the least of which is that the Bush administration has made a fetish of portraying themselves as "compassionate" toward the poor with images of adorable black children and high level tokenism. They know very well that the African American community is the most reliably Democratic constituency in the nation. They are not actually making a play for their votes. Their bogus imagery is racist because it has no substance in policy terms and is actually aimed at white suburban voters who mistrust the southern red-neck edge that defines the sound of the modern GOP.

That about sums it up. The first half of Bush's "compassionate conservative" formulation doesn't exist as a policy goal but as a comforting hedge against the economic selfishness and/or cultural bigotry that motivates so many conservative voters. Compassionate people don't act like this.

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