28 January 2016

Today in Blithering Idiocy

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is wondering where the compassionate conservatives have gone in the Republican Party:
Back in 2000, George W. Bush did something fascinating: On the campaign trail he preached “compassionate conservatism,” telling wealthy Republicans about the travails of Mexican-American immigrants and declaring to women in pearls that “the hardest job in America” is that of a single mother.

Those well-heeled audiences looked baffled, but applauded.

That instinct to show a little heart helped elect Bush but then largely disappeared from Republican playbooks and policy. Yet now, amid the Republican Party’s civil war, there are intriguing initiatives by the House speaker, Paul Ryan, and some other conservatives to revive an interest in the needy.
Has the columnist, aka Mr. "Sh%$ for Brains" actually read these proposals?

They are all the same:  "Make the alternative starvation, and the poor will pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

As fellow Times pundit Paul Krugman noted Eight Years Ago, "Compassionate Conservatism" was, "A dog-whistle to the religious right:
Oy. Why are political writers still unaware that Bush’s phrase “compassionate conservatism” wasn’t an acceptance of the Great Society, but rather a dog-whistle to the religious right? It comes from Marvin Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion. From the Publisher’s Weekly review:
Compassion means tough love in which those who give must demand self-help from those who receive … Olasky adds a proviso that the giver too must be personally involved. He holds up the example of 19th-century charity workers, whose religious beliefs made them compassionate and willing to deal intimately with the poor … Olasky does not blame the system for poverty. He faults the poor, along with social workers back to Jane Addams and the founders of the settlement house movement.
Paul Ryan and the rest of them have no plan beyond making the poor even poorer.

My conclusion is that Nicholas Kristof is in a competition with Tom Friedman for dumb-assery.


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