Tag Archives: President Bush

“Compassionate” Conservatism Has Always Been With Us

by Whitney Pitcher

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Last weekend, President George W. Bush gave a rare interview with the Dallas Morning News in which he predicted that “compassionate conservatism” would make a comeback:

Asked what message he’s sending to the GOP, Bush reverted to broad descriptions of freedom. He steered clear of giving his party specifics on how to rebuild, but he said that he stands by “the principles that guided me when I was president.”

“These are principles that need to be articulated and defended as time goes on,” he said.

For Bush, “compassionate conservatism,” much derided by the party’s harder-edged tea party adherents, is still a powerful draw.

He predicted a renewed interest in the philosophy, which he described as “the idea that articulating and implementing conservative ideas leads to a better life for all.”

President Bush is wrong. This week has proven that compassionate conservatism isn’t poised for a comeback . It has always been with us, and it’s not found in big government programs like Medicare Part D, which Bush touts later in the interview. It is found in the American people.

Between the responses to the horrific bombing at the Boston marathon on Monday and the awful explosion at a fertilizer plant on Wednesday night, Americans have shown awe-inspiring true compassion—not because of big government, but because of big hearts.

So many stories of compassion have emerged from the Boston Marathon bombing. Carlos Arredondo, a Costa Rican immigrant who was handing out flags to spectators at the race helped the wounded injured by the blast and helped removed barricades so first responders could treat the injured. Physicians who were running the race stopped and helped the wounded. Some runners finished the race and kept running to the local hospitals to give blood.

Following the massive explosion last night in West, Texas, similar stories of compassion emerged. Some lost their lives in an ultimate display of compassion. An off-duty firefighter,who worked for the Dallas Fire Department, not even the West Fire Department, made the ultimate sacrifice in rushing to the scene to assist in fighting the blaze. Two West volunteers firefighters also gave their lives to save the lives of others. Hundreds of Texans donated blood, many waiting in lines that wrapped around the building, in nearby Waco to help the victims of the explosion.

Those are just a small cross section of the compassion seen in Americans just this week. Their response did not require a taxpayer funded government program, but simply a loving heart. As I wrote recently in post about Peter Schweizer’s expose on food stamps, by definition, compassion is not a product of policy:

 The very etymology of the word “compassion” indicates that it cannot be provided by government. The word, compassion, really means to suffer with. How much can government empathize with the poor when their campaign accounts are being padded while their cronies’ profits rise? Additionally, government cannot be compassionate with other people’s money. American is known for being very generous. A study published last August noted that Americans gave over $214 billion to charity in 2008. “Red” states comprised the top eight states for charitable giving, while “blue” states made up the seven least charitable states. This is what compassion is–giving of one’s own money to help those in need. It isn’t using taxpayer dollars to perpetuate poverty while politicians’ cronies profit.

Perhaps it is better said as a paraphrase of the LL Cool J’s song, ” don’t call it a [compassionate conservative] comeback; it’s been here for years”. True “compassionate conservatism” (that deserves the term, not the supposed “compassionate conservatism” of President Bush) has been around for years. It is organic and not coerced through taxation. It is powerful. Voluntary generosity and a heartfelt desire to help those in need is as American as apple pie and baseball, and they don’t require a government agency to distribute.

Note: This post has been updated for clarification.

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The Fiscal Cliff–Compromising Our Founding Principles and Holding Hostage Our Future

by Whitney Pitcher

As Democrats and Republicans discuss the media declared “fiscal cliff”, there has been seemingly more rhetoric than ideas and more focus on political expediency than on principle. In other words, it’s business as usual in Washington. Words such as “compromise” and “hostage” seem to be part of any press conference or speech surrounding the debate. Each party indicates a need for the other party to “compromise” so that a certain group, such as the middle class, is not held “hostage” by the other party’s lack of “compromise”. The fiscal cliff and the debate surrounding “compromise” and “hostage” holding are not static in our current political debate. Governor Palin was right when she noted last week that we’ve already reached the fiscal cliff, but what remains to be seen is how hard we’re going to fall at the bottom.  The actual compromise is not a potential one between Republicans and Democrats, but the compromise that decades and decades of politicians of both parties have made with our Founding principles. Those who are held hostage are not solely the constituents of the present, but also future generations who will have to pay for the fiscal failures of the past and the present.

The  media declared, nebulous “fiscal cliff” includes the potential tax increases that would occur if the Bush tax cuts were to expire and the large across the board cuts that would be enacted if sequestration was to occur. If no “deal” is reached, then the combination of tax increases and budget cuts are anticipated by some to exacerbate an already bad economy. In reality, as Governor Palin noted, our nation has already gone over the cliff because of burgeoning deficits contributing to a massive national debt. This is not because of inadequate taxation, but because of big government and poor monetary policy.

Spending has gone up immensely over the past three decades specifically. Per capita spending has gone from  just over $6,000 a year at the beginning of the Carter administration to nearly $12, 000 a year currently. Per capita spending stayed fairly constant at about $8,000 per person through the second part of President Reagan’s tenure through President Clinton’s time in office before increasing again during President Bush’s tenure, as shown below in this graph posted at Reason. com:

The Bush and Obama administrations consistently have spent more than 20% of GDP, which was a rare occurrence in the previous fifty years. Under President Obama, there have been four straight years of more than a trillion dollar deficits, which has lead to his tenure generating more debt than the tenures of the first 41 president (George Washington through George H.W. Bush) combined. Additionally, President Obama has supported quantitative easing stimuli, which have devalued the dollar and negatively affected  both employment and interest rates. While President George W. Bush may have engaged in some pretty extreme “fiscal cliff” diving, Barack Obama has made Felix Baumgartner  seem like a risk averse wimp with the astronomic levels he has gone to in his”fiscal cliff” diving. All of this has lead to the current situation where leaders are trying to determine if our continued fall will include tax increases, mandatory spending cuts, increased borrowing or any combination of the three.

This spending has brought policymakers to a point where charged rhetoric is uttered more frequently than  actual solutions. The word “compromise” is thrown around frequently, which generally means that one party think the other party should abandon their principles to capitulate to them. However, the real “compromise” is one that leaders of both parties have made with our Founding principles of limited government and Founding documents like the Constitution.They all have sworn to uphold the precious document only to treat it as a disposable paper towel when they get in office. They  have compromised their oath for the sake of political expediency. President Obama has indicated that he wants complete authority to raise the debt ceiling  as part of a  “fiscal cliff” deal, which minority leader Nancy Pelosi supports as well. However, the Constitution clearly states that Congress holds the authority to borrow money, not the President. The power of the purse lies with Congress, be it to spend or borrow, yet our leaders continue to try to twist the branches of government where one branch can assume the role of the other and the balance of power becomes moved from its fulcrum.

Additionally, President Washington noted in his farewell address that borrowing money was to be done sparingly and generally only in times of unavoidable wars (emphasis added):

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible: avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.

President Washington understood something that our recent and current leadership has ignored–who is really held hostage by the political decisions of today–future generations. Today’s politicians act primarily out of political expediency recognizing that if they can make the other party seem like a hostage taker to a certain segment of the population, then it helps them politically. However, the hostage is not solely the current taxpayer, but future generations who will be paying for the fiscal failures and bloated government of past and present politicians. As Margaret Thatcher famously noted eventually you run out of other people’s money. If debt continues to accrue and the dollar continues to devalue, future generations will have to pay the ransom for their own pre-determined capture.

G.K Chesterston once noted of political compromise, “[c]ompromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.” Whatever compromise (or capitulation) Democrats and Republicans come to (if they do), the check for the half loaf will ultimately be sent to future generations held fiscally hostage by the compromised leadership of our recent past and our present. We can only pray that someday our leaders will look to Thomas Paine’s words as they make decisions, as Paine said, “if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my children may have peace”.

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Reactions to the Death of bin Laden from POTUSes 43-45 and Some Baseball; Updated

by Whitney Pitcher

As the whole world probably now knows, Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden  in special ground operations in Pakistan on Sunday. Here area a  round up of thoughts on the courageous actions of our military  in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice from Presidents 43, 44, and Lord willing, 45.

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

President Obama, in part:

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

[...]

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

Governor Palin:

Thank you, American men and women in uniform. You are America’s finest and we are all so proud. Thank you for fighting against terrorism.

As a big baseball fan and as baseball is America’s past time, I cannot help but remember President Bush, wearing a New York Fire Department jacket,throwing out the first pitch at the first Yankees’ game following the attacks on September 11, 2001:

Here is the reaction of fans at a Mets’/Phillies’ game upon hearing the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death:

May God bless America.

Update:
Governor Palin posted this on her Facebook page:

Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy.

This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world.

May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!

- Sarah Palin

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