How Compassionate Was George W. Bush's Conservatism?

By Nathan A. Hall
2010, Vol. 2 No. 05 | pg. 1/1

In this chapter, we will be observing the extent to which our 43rd President upheld his 2000 campaign promise to be a compassionate conservative. When observing George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” I will be constraining most of my focus on the compassionate aspect. In order to evaluate Bush’s performance in this campaign platform, a definition is needed. Compassionate conservatism: that assumes solving social problems and supporting the needy can be done in a fiscally responsible way through privatization and other conservative practices. In its most fundamental form, a compassionate conservative may feel that he can solve a liberal issue with conservative . The scholarly community and some of Bush's closest team members are at the consensus that this was nothing more than a guise layered over a slogan appealing to moderate voters. Bush's follow through has taken heat from both the right and left side of the political spectrum: many right-wing critics accused bush of betraying the conservative base with his expansion of the presidency and implementation of one of the greatest enlargements of the government in U.S. History; the left has been rendered fearful by the removal of America’s social safety net and deterioration of benefits for the less fortunate.

This chapter will undertake four case studies measuring George W. Bush's capacity as a compassionate conservative: the Patriot Act, Hurricane Katrina, Economic Policy, and Faith-based Initiatives. These sections will scrutinize the compassion, or lack thereof, derived from Bush's actions and policies. The former President will be measured both empirically and normatively, examining data provided by various sources.

I would like to note one caveat here early on. As time has progressed and information and data has been released, we have come to the common understanding that to some extent, Bush was merely a puppet of his administration. With that being said, it is important to weigh all claims here with a grain of salt. One can take the approach that he was ultimately responsible for his subordinate's actions, and therefore, must take full responsibility; or that because a select few of his administration's higher-ups arguably had their own agenda, his responsibility must be diverted. I am taking the stand that as the figurehead of our nation, as our Chief Executive Officer, as our Chief Administrator, and as the person ultimately liable for signing off on these decisions, he should be held accountable—whether that sheds him in a positive or negative light.

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Act of 2001: The Patriot Act

This chapter will not delve into any conspiracy as to the cause, knowledge, or foresight by Bush or his administration of 9/11. I will remain silent on opinion, and let any facts referenced in this text and other such texts speak for themselves.

Shortly after the September 11th attacks on the U.S., the Bush administration introduced one of the most invasive, expansive, and radical bills in U.S. history. The 132-page bill was introduced into the House on October 23, 2001 and signed into law on October 26, 2001, just 44 days after the event that is alleged to have spurred the necessity of the bill.1

The Patriot Act has “legalized” policies that are comparable to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, and FDR’s Executive Order 9066 (Japanese detention camps). Although the Patriot Act was not detrimental for the poor, it was targeted, overbearing, and discriminatory, against select minorities, i.e., foreigners, and infringed upon the rights of society as a whole. The Act is seemingly known by all, even its proponents, to be the battle of personal liberties versus national security. And it is here that a line is drawn that divides the pros and cons and advocates and critics. As with any political matter there will be partisan bickering, even if their concerns are frivolous; however, there are certain aspects within the Patriot Act that are now beyond opinionated criticism, as they have been ruled illegal or unconstitutional.

National Security Letters

After several earlier cases setting precedents, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought suit against the FBI, for their use of National Security Letters (NSL)2, whose powers were greatly expanded under the Patriot Act. These “letters” are similar to the common subpoena, with the exception of two major differences. First, they require no probable cause or judicial approval. Second, they contain a gag order, which prevents the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued or received.3 The latter aspect was ruled unconstitutional as it violated the right to free speech, in the above-mentioned lawsuit, Doe vs. Ashcroft.4 After subtle changes to the law by Congress, the appeal to the case was dismissed as moot.5

The case in question originated when an Internet Service Provider, Doe, was issued a NSL, which requested the relinquishment of their customer’s Internet searches and habits.6 With the gag order, the company was unable to relay this privacy invasion to the customers that were being investigated or anyone else. Essentially, what these letters were doing was giving the Executive Branch the to hide abuses of power, without the check from the other branches of government.7 This lawsuit largely brings attention to a single isolated company. However, when observing the actual statistics, the use of NSL becomes nothing short of alarming. Prior to passage of the Patriot Act, back to 1978 when 2 U.S.C. § 3414—“Special Procedures,” for obtaining data—was passed in its severely restricted original form, the Federal Government issued 8,500 NSLs. The number of NSLs issued between 2003 and 2005 was 143,704.8 In 2003, the percentage of letters issued in the investigation of a U.S. citizen was 39%. This number jumped to 51% in 2004 and then 53% in 2005.9

Furthermore, after an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, it was determined that between the years of 2003 and 2005, there were “significant violations of law and regulations by the FBI in its use of its national security letter authority.”10 Included in this report was the investigation into the FBI’s responsibility to report the number of NSLs to Congress. It was found that the FBI failed to properly report the number of National Security Letters they issued. The review looked at 77 case files containing 293 National Security Letters issued between 2003 and 2005. It was determined that there were seventeen percent more NSLs in the sample of case files than in FBI reporting databases.11 Moreover, the delays the FBI had in data relay caused approximately 4,600 NSLs to not be reported to Congress. The OIG concluded that the FBI’s database under-represents the number of NSL issued, and that Congress has not been properly informed about the scale of the usage of the NSLs.12 This again demonstrates the lack of checks and balances the Executive Branch respected.

Another disturbing practice that the FBI used fell under a category of demands called exigent letters, which were authorial by agents who did even not meet the minimum requirements to authorize national security letters. Exigent letters were apparently only used under extenuating circumstances to gather information from telephone companies and offered assurance that subpoenas or national security letters would soon follow.13 The Washington Post, however, reports that 700 such letters were used, and many times there were no urgent circumstances, nor follow-ups with NSLs or subpoenas.14

Aside from the explicit consequences of a National Security Letter, additional effects were found due to the Bush Administration's exhaustive utilization. Pic. 1, illustrates the large-scale way that National Security Letters were used; one aspect depicted is the way the FBI collected personal data and disseminated the information to use as evidence in the FISA court.15 The outcomes of the FISA court are a topic of my next section.

Wire Tapping

In addition to National Security Letters, the Patriot Act enhanced the government’s ability to tap into some of the most private aspects of American lives. Some of the specific lines of legislation in the Patriot Act were amendments to enhanced wiretapping, which had their origins in previous acts dating back to 1968, 1978, and 1986, respectfully, and have reference with Title III, FISA, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.16 Title III is the more familiar type of wiretap that you may see on your favorite shows. It requires probable cause and a specific person or "target," which are subsequently confirmed by the proper court.17 In the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Title III was amended to allow so called “roving wiretaps;” this gave the government the ability to monitor any communication device being used by the “target,” without obtaining a separate warrant18--this is useful if a person is utilizing multiple pay-as-you -go cell phones, for example. The Patriot Act then further amended Title III to include domestic terrorism.19 The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 1978 was originally intended to prescribe the procedures for obtaining electronic surveillance between “foreign powers” or “agents of foreign powers.”20 FISA has a far greater expanded definition of “target” than Title III; FISA allows for the “target” to also be a group, entity, or foreign power.21 The Patriot Act also amended this legislation to allow for the surveillance into criminal activity relating to foreign threats.22 This increases the cooperation between law enforcement and national security investigators. The FISA court, which was created as a special court with the sole purpose of issuing these FISA warrants, is known as being a rubber stamp approval for investigates as only 9 requests were declined, while 25,360 were approved.23 These rubber stamps were also issued in advance, i.e., investigators would obtain the warrant and given 120 days to demonstrate the need for them.24

Beyond expanding the scope of previous wiretapping legislation, the Patriot Act, piecemealed their pro-government aspects together. The aggregate legislation made it possible to obtain “John Doe” warrants that does not specify a particular device nor identify a particular target.25 And because under FISA’s lack of probable cause, the Patriot Act amendments give agencies like the FBI the ability to eavesdrop without the judicial review of probable cause.26

I cannot help but to imagine the hypothetical situation made possible by the aggregate of these aforementioned civil liberty infringements: information is gathered after the FBI sends a NLS to a public library requesting information from their computer network; this is then used as the means to obtain a rubber stamp approval by the FISA court to surveil the library where a U.S. citizen, who is alleged to communicate via e-mail with a member of al Qaeda; the FBI starts to capture all electronic information sent and received by the publicly available computers; shortly before the suspect arrives you are using the computer to send some personal content to your significant other, and now, an investigator from the FBI.

Hurricane Katrina

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees," Bush said on September 1st in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.27 Four days earlier and one day before the storm hit in a video conference with the President, FEMA officials, and the Governors of Mississippi and Louisiana, Max Mayfield says: “I don’t think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levies will be toppled or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern."28 Moments later, he concludes: “Okay. Any specific questions before I toss to the Hydranet Prediction Center and Jim Hope?”29 Bush remained silent. That same day in a press conference from his Crawford Ranch, Bush uttered 203 words about Katrina and spoke 819 words about the Iraqi’s draft constitution.30 The day Katrina hit, at a 44-minute speech promoting his Medicare reform, Bush devoted a total of 156 words to Katrina, offering such reassurances, as “the federal government is prepared to help you when the storm passes"31—I would assume we would be helping the victims, not only after but also before and during. This total submission of Katrina’s pressing importance by Bush was seen time after time in its immediate wake. The first time that the former President visited New Orleans was two days after the storm hit, thousands of feet in the air flying back to Washington.32 Actions and inactions by Bush during the dire moments before and after New Orleans experienced the third deadliest hurricane in , sheds light onto the fact that he was operating under his less than compassionate presidential prowess.33

I can find two possibilities as to the lack of urgency portrayed by Bush and the federal government, as made evident by his Good Morning America debacle, in coping with Katrina's devastating landfall on New Orleans: Bush was either not paying attention, or he was making intentionally misleading remarks. Both are probable given Bush's record, however one is particularly troubling, and is most likely what made this Category 3 hurricane—at the time it made landfall in New Orleans—the costliest natural disaster in American history. If Bush was making misleading remarks was it to cover the planned, horrendously slow and improper relief efforts? It is a very precarious situation to make such serious allegations, yet the evidence may divulge credulity to do this. Even by the third day after Katrina not only was Red Cross turned away, 30,000 National Guard troops from across the country were still on deck waiting to be ordered to the disaster area.34 Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, in a radio interview slammed Bush: “don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.”35

Michael Brown, appointed by , head of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has taken most of the poignant blame for utterly failing to manage the disaster relief efforts. After Katrina, a select bipartisan joint Congressional Committee was created to investigate the disaster. They deemed an appropriate title to be "A Failure of Initiative." The title hinges on the word initiative, which they have defined as “the power or ability to begin or follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.”36 This 584 page report found that the overall effort of Bush and the staff that he was responsible for, failed or were less than competent on a number of key issues that were responsible for the devastating aftermath we have seen: The execution of the National Response was late and ineffective; FEMA itself was not only under-staffed, it was also undertrained; there was an utter breakdown of communications that paralyzed the commands ability to disperse information, which made awareness of the situations at hand difficult; there was a lack of law and order; FEMA’s logistical system was unable to support the supplies and provisions needed; and emergency housing was incomplete and reckless.37 The aforementioned shortcomings were more than embarrassing for one of the wealthiest and interconnected nations in the world, and they aggregated to create an incomplete evacuation that led to hundreds of deaths and tremendous suffering.38 The report adequately noted that we, the American Public, should be disturbed by the preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina.39 Moreover, in the Executive Summary the team notes “the institutional and individual failures we have identified became all the more clear when compared…[t]hose who didn’t flinch, who took matters into their own hands when bureaucratic inertia was causing death, injury, and suffering”40

When history gazes upon the aftermath of Katrina, no doubt, some of blame will be rested upon the breech of the levies. However, most of the blame will fall unto Bush and his administration for their blatant lack of appropriate efforts to mitigate the aftermath, with meaningful recovery efforts. Some critics go so far as to transpose the failed relief efforts of George Bush with racism: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.”41 This was the famous quote by Kanye West during a Red Cross telethon, which of course had no backing by any political scholars or hard facts, but nonetheless, represented the opinion of a vast amount of Americans. So, can we consider Kanye’s words justified?

According to the 2000 Census, the population of New Orleans was of 28.05% white, and 67.25% black, with 27.9% of the population living below the level. Fast forwarding six years, one year after Katrina, the 2006 American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau, divulges a shocking statistical comparison.42 After Katrina, the city of New Orleans black population declined by 57 percent, while its white population only decreased by 36 percent. The population became older, more educated, less poor, and home ownership went up, while the number of renters declined.43 Measured with the 2000 census and the 2006 ACS, the affects of Katrina on the Socio-economic status of New Orleans is quite revealing: the level of was significantly enhanced, as persons 25 and older with less than a high school education declined by 6.34%, while those with a Bachelors or higher increased by 5.9%; the individuals living below the poverty level decreased by 5.7%; and home ownership increased by 4.2%.44 In consequence of Katrina, a large portion of New Orleans's population emigrated, some stayed and some immigrated.

The percentage of blacks leaving New Orleans between 2005 and 2006 was 70%, while the percentage of blacks coming in was 43%; the percentage of whites for this time was 21% and 44%, respectfully.45 The statics on population since 2000 illustrate the drastic impact Katrina had on its residence and the disproportion of this on the black community. Table 1. delineates the population trend for years in which data was available. The data for 2000 through 2004 disproves any claims that the population was on a decline before Katrina, and the sudden change from 2005 to 2006 elucidates the 57% vs. 36% change.46

After reconciling all of the data before and after Katrina, it becomes readily apparent that the black population was more largely and adversely subjected to the devastation than the white population. Although no facts are presented that insinuate that there was grievous neglect or intentional malfeasance, there are facts that demonstrate the absurd, avoidable, affects that the mismanaged relief effort had on the lower class population of New Orleans.

Economic Policy

Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, Bruce Wallin, notes that the best value assessment of the body politic is not their Constitution but their budget. Thus, the economic policy of the George W. Bush may shed a tremendous amount of light on his true modus operandi. It can be characterized by an aggregate of tax cuts, a free-market, which crippled regulation, and disproportionate spending. Bush also attempted to implement a major Social Security reform plan that would have had questionable effects, but he was unable to push the reform through Congress. The Ownership society, as championed by Bush, was based on the ideology of individual accountability, smaller government, the owning of property, and stocks.47 Right from the start of the former President’s first term he went to work promoting his vision of tax cuts. H.R. 1836 was introduced on May 15, 2001, and The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) was subsequently passed on June 7, 2001.48 Its sister tax bill, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA), was signed into law on May 28, 2003.49 In summation, these tax cuts decreased all tax rates, reduced the capital gains tax, mitigated the estate and gift tax laws, and increased the exemption for the alternative minimum tax.50 The last of these tax policies was a part of the JGTRRA, which also accelerated the EGTRRA's implementation.51

Taking a basic view of the budgeting and economic policies of George W. Bush, would show the damage done through the surplus to deficit transformation, taking effect with the Presidential transition on January 20, 2001. America explicitly learned of Bush’s tax reduction goals from his Inaugural Address, but could anyone see the ultimate ramifications of outcomes of November 2000?52 Former President Clinton left the country with an 86.4 billion dollar on-budget surplus. The country started 2009 campaign of President Obama, with an on-budget deficit of 641.9 billion dollars.53 Although the federal government, under President Bush had taken in more revenue than Clinton, it also had greater outlay spending than under Clinton. Fig. 1, shows outlays versus revenues generated by the government under Bush compared to Clinton and how it removed our running surplus and created a trend of increasing deficits.

Up to 2001, the revenue trend was positive, in 2001 that was reversed and declined until 2003. Remembering that JGTRRA was signed into law on May 28, 2003, the revenue trend, once again, started on a positive slope.54 A glance at Fig. 1, focusing on 2003-2007, would show that income-tax receipts were increasing and were higher than that of the Clinton Administration. This, of course, would lead one to believe that Bush’s tax cuts were good. It is also true that under the Bush Administration the total percentage of income tax paid by the top one percent steadily increased from 2001-2007, once again good, or rather “compassionate.”55 But when putting these data under a microscope, any notions of the President’s tax cuts being good or “compassionate” are obliterated.

If the top one percent of taxpayers is paying an increasing percentage of our nations taxes, then these tax cuts are progressive. Wrong. The ratio of taxes paid by the top one percent from 2001-2007 is less than the ratio of their increase in AGI for the same time period: AGI went from 17.53% to 22.83% an 130% increase, while the total income tax shares only went from 33.89% to 40.42% an 119% increase.56 The CBO has after-tax income statistics as up-to-date as 2006; these statistics really show the inequality brought on by the Bush Administration. Fig. 2 shows the drastic differences between the after-tax incomes of the bottom 20% and top 1% under Clinton and the after-tax incomes of the bottom 20% and top 1% under Bush. Under Bush, from 2001 to 2006 the top one percent’s after-tax income increased by 49.7%, while the bottom twenty percent’s only increased by a marginal 2.5%.57

The day before Bush took office the national debt stood at $5,727,776,738,304.64, while the day Obama took office the debt stood at $10,626,877,048,913.08; ergo, the cumulative debt of the United States under George W. Bush increased by $4,899,100,310,608.36, an 85.53% increase.58 Although, President Bush’s Medicare Part D, which was a large part of this debt, provides additional prescription drug benefits to seniors, and would fall under the concept of compassion, the program was not funded by any changes to the tax code59—not to mention that spending money on the elderly is a major vote-getter for Republicans. And, partially accounts for the period from 2001 to 2008, where discretionary spending increased by 75%.60 From these data we can clearly observe that Bush did not stick to his Republican, fiscally responsible, roots. But once again, this spending was far from compassionate.

A quick, possibly alarming fact, in 2004, the World, minus the U.S., utilized approximately $500 billion for military spending, while the U.S. Department of Defense alone spent $454.1 billion.61 As it is apparent that Bush was anything but shy when it comes to spending, one would assume the American populous would benefit. Fig. 3 maps out his administrations discretionary spending habits compared to Clinton’s, with respect to defense versus domestic. As Clinton took office there is a sharp coming-together of defense and domestic spending, reducing the first and increasing the latter, until domestic was greater. This becomes sharply contrasted with Bush’s declining domestic spending and increasing defense spending. In 2000 domestic spending was $3.5 billion more than defense, while in 2008 defense spending was $127.5 billion more than domestic.62

These hard data are not just expounded in this opinion, many renowned scholars and economists, especially Paul Krugman, argues that these tax cuts have benefited the wealthier Americans at the expense of the middle and lower class as well.63 Not only have economists stated that the Bush tax cuts benefited wealthier Americans, economists Peter Orszag and William Gale observed they acted as a redistribution of wealth, except this redistribution was reversed, giving money to the wealthiest: where the tax cuts "[shifted] the burden of taxation away from upper-income, capital-owning households and toward the wage-earning households of the lower and middle classes.”64 Of course, there is also a segment of the scholarly community that purport’s differently.

Proponents of the Bush tax cuts may point to a few economic indicators, which would shed the cuts in a positive light. However, these indicators that put a positive spin on the tax cuts outcome, had a gross positive effect, but a negative net effect, due to market deregulation and inappropriate financial practices that led to the financial crisis we see today. For instance, between 2001 and 2005, GDP growth averaged 2.8%, job growth averaged 6.5%, and the growth in average salaries was 1.2%.65 However, the reason for this growth was in large part, due to home equity extraction—obtaining money by borrowing against surging house prices.66 Thus, the housing bubble built, to a total of nearly $5 trillion dollars over the four years.67 As we know, this bubble burst and the aggregate of that collapse along with the financial meltdown thrust the nation into the worst recession since the great depression. This gave birth to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); while the complete outcome of TARP is unknown yet, the bi-partisan oversight committee had this, among many other things to say on its effects: “…none of the actions [the U.S. Department of Treasury] credit with reducing foreclosures have a direct connection to TARP funding."68 It is impossible to draw a line, with 100% accuracy, connecting the observed economic growth with the market deregulation that led to our current crisis, but most evidence points in that direction.

One can talk and preach all they want about values, ideals, and compassion or even write it down and purport it to the world. But without funding these are mere empty promises. Money makes the world go round, and without it, the world remains a place of unequal treatment and opportunities. It is clear then that from Bush's policies his true ideals were to disproportionately help the above average American, which led to a tumultuous economy for the nation as a whole.

Faith-based Initiatives

Possibly one of Bush’s more reconcilable policies was his Faith-based Initiatives, as it was geared as a program that would heighten organizations’, namely those of the religious order, ability to enhance social-services. This was largely accomplished by removing the obstacles that religious organizations faced in obtaining assistance from the Federal government. According the Department of Justice, “The Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI)…demonstrates how public and private entities can join together for the common good…while also strengthening existing partnerships with well-established nonprofit organizations to address some of the country's most complex social problems.”69 Unfortunately, even the good-natured aspects of this policy raise a number of legal and constitutional issues. These issues only arise from the broad concept itself; there are additional controversies when observing the President's execution.

With an Executive Order on January 29, 2001, Bush announced the establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI).70 This same day, in Executive Order 13198, the former President decreed the establishment of five Executive Department Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.71 This was later expanded to eleven.72

In Faith-based Initiatives and the Bush Administration: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Paul Weber remarks on how Bush was willing to cut taxes before funding social services, yet establish faith-based initiatives, which utilize and are funded by taxes, and “are a significant step toward undoing the safety net established in the New Deal.”73 Tax-exempt status and benefits to faith-based organizations are nothing new. The difference now is that many of the restrictions and guidelines that kept the “religious” aspects in check, will be removed in Bush’s proposals.74 These parameters were in place as a necessary check on the Constitution’s explicit safeguards decreeing religious indifference.

The Establishment Clause, reading, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”75 in its narrowest interpretation, is intended to stop the government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion.76 The interpretation, as per the Supreme Court, even before Bush’s Presidency, is much broader. Cases, such as Engel v. Vitale in 1962, where the Supreme Court ruled against school prayer, raised the bar on the Separation of Church and State.77 It is generally understood that after countless cases dealing with this issue and more specifically issues of taxpayer standing, such as Flast v. Cohen, our body politic is aligned with Jefferson’s vision of “building a wall of separation between Church & State.”78 Jefferson also notes in the same letter containing this “wall of separation” that “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God…”79 From these broad, and sweeping, interpretations that are seemingly the law of the land, as of now, how is it that there are breaches in the wall and the line of separation sometimes blurred? For example, how is it that the Government can constitutionally imprint “In God We Trust” upon money? The answer stems from a concept known as Ceremonial deism and has roots in Lynch v. Donnelly, as Justice Brennan noted they are “protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.”80 Understandably, these concepts, for a vast majority of the population are read or recited with no religious pre or post thought.

When it comes to Faith-based initiatives, however, there are great pre and post religious thoughts. And, moreover, where the constitutional aspect divulges itself, is primarily, in the aspect of equality or neutrality. Thus, returning to the aforementioned practice of allowing tax-exempt status and other federal benefits to religious organizations are largely unchallenged due to the fact that the benefits they are receiving are equally obtainable by non-religious organizations. Or, another common occurrence allowing religious affiliations to receive aid is when their proposed effect is secular in nature.81 Here, it becomes abundantly clear that a problem will arise with explicit grants to Faith-based organizations; supposing two groups applying for assistance, in accordance with Faith-based initiatives, results in one being approved and one not. Lawyers from across the land would be clamoring to take suit if, in continuance of the example, the group approved was a mainstream Protestant church, while the group being denied was a LaVeyan Satanism (Church of Satan). It is quite apparent that a skillful lawyer would have little trouble demonstrating that the denial was not due to inadequacies in the planed use of the funds but due to religious intolerance. And there are practical concerns from this hypothetical example as well: a cult known as the Creativity Movement, formally the World Church of the Creator, has roots in violent racism,82 and hence, it is readily apparent how dangerous it would be for the federal government to fund such and organization, regardless of the circumstances.

A more general overview of, Equal Treatment Safeguards,83 or “norms” for qualifying for federal benefits is delineated by Weber:

I “refrain from direct or indirect proselytizing;”

II “provide service to their clients without respect to religious affiliation;”

III “Keep religious and government grant funds separate, with the latter spent only according to government mandated procedures and subject to audit;”

IV “compliance with other generally applicable laws against discrimination in hiring or service based on race, religion, color, age, gender, or national origin.”84

All of these caveats might make one wonder how such policies could withstand the partisanship of the Legislative branch and review of the Supreme Court. Bush, for the most part, simply circumvented these potential problems, when, on January 29, 2001, just nine days after his inauguration, he signed Executive Orders 13198 and 13199.85

With the conservatism of these policies hardly being questioned, let us now look a little closer at the clauses outlined by Weber and Bush’s policy. For it is here that the largest criticism against Faith-based Initiatives are raised and the compassion, beyond that felt for the selective minorities adhering to Bush’s whims, is expunged. To achieve his agenda, the former President instructed his Executive Department Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in Executive Order 13198, section 3, sub-clauses (a) through (c) respectfully, to conduct a department wide audit to identify all existing barriers to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the delivery of social services by the department, including but not limited to regulations, rules, orders, procurement, and other internal policies and practices, and outreach activities that either facially discriminate against or otherwise discourage or disadvantage the of faith-based and other community organizations in Federal programs…coordinate a comprehensive departmental effort to incorporate faith-based…organizations in department programs and initiatives to the greatest extent possible…propose initiatives to remove barriers identified pursuant to section 3(a) of this order…86

This was nothing short than full-scale assault on the underpinnings of secular society.

It is common knowledge and practice, for good reason, that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or prospective employee because of their religious affiliation. Bush however, felt as though there should be an exception made for religious organizations, and that taxpayer should pay to be discriminated against.

Unfortunately, discrimination is not the only thing taxpayers bought for Bush; votes and political capital were also funded by the American Public. Rebecca Sager notes "the faith-based initiative has become primarily a series of policies, practices, and promises that seem to be more about changing and politics by altering the relationship between religion and government than…to deliver social services” in her book, Faith, Politics, and Power: The Politics of Faith-based Initiatives.87 Rev. Herbert H. Lusk II had, illegally, as per tax code statute, championed Bush during his 2000 Presidential election and was later rewarded with a $1 million grant through the former President’s Faith-based Initiative.88 A historical democrat, via support of William Clinton and Al Gore, Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, switched teams after Bush won the 2000 election, and was subsequently granted $1.5 million.89 It is interesting to note that not only was Bush buying the religious vote, he was buying the Black community, as both aforementioned religious leaders were Black.

In 2006 the GAO released a report, which investigated officials administering ten different government grant programs and representatives from 26 grant receiving religious organizations.90 Since 2001 to the time of this report the federal government had given out over $500 million. In sum, the GAO found that a few organizations described activities that appeared to use funds for inherently religious activities, and four of the thirteen that utilized voluntary religious activities “did not separate in time or location some religious activities from federally funded program services;” recount norm iii. Additionally, half of the organizations interviewed did not understand the safeguard that pertained to permissible hiring on the basis of religion91—norm IV.

From the problems outlined it should be clear that regardless how good of intentions Faith-based Initiatives have, the inherent difficulties that arise are in direct correlation with why the framers created the Establishment Clause in the first place. Pragmatically, the only way to ensure the equal treatment of all religions is for the government to not endorse any religion. Again, these concerns are only rooted from the heartfelt ideals of using Faith-based Initiatives to foster social safety nets, and are not touching on the concerns created under Bush’s executive orders. Disregard to established safeguards and norms made possible by the funds of the taxpayer, were not only utilized to pander to Bush’s own religious ideals, but also to purchase religious votes in the 2000 and 2004 .

Conclusion

We have traversed through the tumultuous landscape of the Patriot Act, witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, endured crippling economic policy, and reluctantly subsidized Faith-based Initiatives. And all of this was in the name of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism;” yet all of this conservatism was fraught with everything but compassion.

Even after this investigation the full extent to Bush's damage to American Society will not be known for years to come. The residual effects of the war in Iraq and bans on stem cell are mere fragmentations that are the aggregate of an eight-year timeframe that will result in the single largest setback in American Society's history. Where would we be in the purview of world opinion if we had devoted our capacity to the capture of Bin Laden, and ended the reign of an actual democratic threat? Where is the compassion in a war for money? Where is the compassion in hindering the advancement of medicine that will see an end to such travesties as Alzheimer's, disfigurement, paralyzation, heart disease, etc.? What happened in the 223 years since the framers of our constitution referenced philosophers, such as Locke and Montesquieu, to our President most identifying with the political philosopher Jesus Christ?92Will Global Warming be a priority threat to our children's children? Is it possible that the state of Florida will have been the keystone in America's downward spiral? Sadly, these questions can never be answered—until Al Gore invents the time machine. We, as a People, will never truly appreciate the grave magnitude of devolution Society endured. Hopefully, however, we as a People have learned what the ramifications are, when a compassionate conservative acts contrary to compassion.

This chapter examined four case studies, each of which could be expanded into their own article, chapter, or book. Each case in this chapter was merely shown via a highlight reel and, through extensive investigation, would even further increase the “negative” opinion of Bush shown here; in the Faith-based Initiatives section there were a few controversial offerings of grants issued to those religious elites who championed Bush during his campaign. In reality these two were the tip of the iceberg and through deeper investigation would countless more cases. A civil liberty violation related to wiretapping but not found within the Patriot Act was the NSA’s "warrantless wiretaps,” which had the President authorizing the NSA without knowledge of any other branch to wiretap civilians with no warrant at all. Economic scholars could divulge extensive details dealing with the housing collapse and financial meltdown and how drastic of a situation it caused. Much controversy was shrouded, not only in the failed relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina, but the way the Black community was portrayed in the media. Many reports came out where “white people were looking for food,” while “black people were looting.” Where George W. Bush will rank amongst Presidents is unknown, but what is known is that his legacy to many will live on in infamy.


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1.) H.R.3162, Library of Congress, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgibin/bdquery/z?d107:HR03162:@@@L&summ2=m&.

2.) Doe v. Ashcroft ("Doe I"), 334 F.Supp.2d 471 (S.D.N.Y.2004).

3.) “ACLU Asks Appeals Court to Affirm Decision Strkiking Down Patriot Act’s ‘National Security Letter’ Provision,” ACLU, August 27, 2008, http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-asks-appeals-court-affirm-decision-striking-down-patriot-acts-national- securi.

4.) Doe v. Ashcroft.

5.) Doe I v. Gonzales, 449 F.3d 415 (2d Cir. 2006).

6.) Doe v. Ashcroft.

7.) ACLU

8.) Office of the Inspector General, “A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006,” U.S. Department of Justice (March 9, 2007).

9.) Ibid.

10.) “Wiretapping,” Electronic Privacy Information Center, http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/.

11.) Office of the Inspector General, “A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006,” U.S. Department of Justice, March 9, 2007.

12.) Ibid.

13.) “Abuse of Authority,” Washington Post, March 11, 2007, Editorial section.

14.) Ibid.

15.) Office of the Inspector General, “A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006,” U.S. Department of Justice, March 9, 2007.

16.) “Wiretapping,” Electronic Privacy Information Center, http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/.

17.) Julian Sanchez, “PATRIOT Powers: Roving Wiretaps,” http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/10/15/patriot-powers-roving-wiretaps/.

18.) Ibid.

19.) “Wiretapping,” Electronic Privacy Information Center, http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/.

20.) 50 U.S.C. § 1801, Cornell University Law School, http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/50/usc_sec_50_00001801----000-.html.

21.) Julian Sanchez.

22.) “Wiretapping,” Electronic Privacy Information Center, http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/.

23.) “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Orders 1979-2007,” Electronic Privacy Information Center, http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html.

24.) “Transcript of Conference Call with Assistant Attorney General Kenneth L. Wainstein on FISA Legislation,” Department of Justice, October 10, 2007.

25.) Julian Sanchez

26.) Ibid.

27.) Joby Warrick, “White House Got Early Warning on Katrina,” Washington Post, January 24, 2006, Nation section.

28.) Katrina Transcript, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/national/katrinatranscript0828partia.pdf.

29.) Ibid.

30.) “Katrina: What Happened When,” September 16, 2005, http://www.factcheck.org/society/katrina_what_happened_when.html

31.) “Katrina Hammers Gulf Coast,” Fox News, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,167289,00.html

32.) Katrina: The Long Road Back, “New Orleans mayor orders looting crackdown,” MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9063708/.

33.) “Deadliest U.S. Hurricanes,” Weather Underground, http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/usdeadly.asp.

34.) “More Navy ships, National Guard troops headed to the Gulf Coast.” Associated Press, September 1, 2005.

35.) “Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses',” Transcript of radio interview with New Orleans' Nagin, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/nagin.transcript/.

36.) “A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina,” Report 109-377, U. S. House of Representatives, April 5, 2006.

37.) “A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina,” Report 109-377, U. S. House of Representatives, April 5, 2006.

38.) Ibid.

39.) Ibid. 359

40.) Ibid.

41.) Red Cross Telethon, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUzLpO1kxI.

42.) William Frey, Audrey Singer and David Park, “Resettling New Orleans: The First Full Picture from the Census,” The Brookings Institution.

43.) Ibid.

44.) Ibid.

45.) William Frey.

46.) See Table 1: William Frey, Audrey Singer and David Park, “Resettling New Orleans: The First Full Picture from the Census,” The Brookings Institution.

47.) Zachary Karabell, “End of the Ownership Society,” Newsweek, October 20, 2008.

48.) “H.R. 1836: Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001,” A Civic Project to Track Congress, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h107-1836.

49.) “S. 1054: Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,” A Civic Project to Track Congress.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s108-1054.

50.) The 107th Congress, “Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001,” Pub.L. 107-16, 115 Stat.

51.) The 108th Congress, “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,” Pub.L. 108-27, 117 Stat. 752.

52.) “Bush Inaugural Address,” CNN, http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/inauguration/2001/transcripts/template.html.

53.) “Revenues, Outlays, Surpluses, Deficits, and Debt Held by the Public, 1970 to 2009,” Congressional Budget Office.

54.) “Revenues, Outlays, Surpluses, Deficits, and Debt Held by the Public, 1970 to 2009,” Congressional Budget Office.

55.) Gerald Prante, “Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data,” Tax Foundation, July 30, 2009, http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html.

56.) Ibid.

57.) Ibid.

58.) “The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It,” Treasury Direct, http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np.

59.) Bruce Bartlett, “Republican Deficit Hypocrisy,” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/19/republican-budget-hypocrisy-health-care-opinions-columnists-bruce-bartlett.html.

60.) “Revenues, Outlays, Surpluses, Deficits, and Debt Held by the Public, 1970 to 2009,” Congressional Budget Office.

61.) “World Wide Military Expenditures,” Global Security, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm.

62.) “Revenues, Outlays, Surpluses, Deficits, and Debt Held by the Public, 1970 to 2009,” Congressional Budget Office.

63.) Paul Krugman,, “The Tax-Cut Zombies,” Economist’s View, December 23, 2005, http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2005/12/paul_krugman_th_1.html

64.) Peter R Orszag, and William G. Gale, “The Great Tax Shift,” The Brookings Institution, http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2005/0504taxes_gale.aspx.

65.) Lee Price, “The Boom That Wasn’t: The economy has little to show for $860 billion in tax cuts,” Economic Policy Institute, March 2006, http://epi.3cdn.net/767992214da6a41eb9_3um6bn297.pdf.

66.) “Spending boosted by home equity loans: Greenspan,” Reuters, April 23, 2007, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2330071920070423.

67.) “$5 Trillion in Housing Wealth Gone: The Impact of the Housing Bubble Bursting,” Dr. Housing Bubble, July 5, 2007, http://drhousingbubble.blogspot.com/2007/07/5-trillion-in-housing-wealth-gone.html.

68.) Congressional Oversight Committee, “Accountability for the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” January 9, 2009.

69.) Department of Justice, “FACT SHEET: Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” http://www.justice.gov/archive/fbci/about.html.

70.) George W Bush, “Establishment of White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37. no. 5, February 2, 2001: 235-236.

71.) George W Bush, “Agency Responsibilities With Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37. no. 5, February 2, 2001: 233-235.

72.) United States Government Accountability Office, Faith-Based and Community Initiative: Improvements in Monitoring Grantees and Measuring Performance Could Enhance Accountability, GAO-06-616, Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, 2006.

73.) Jo Renee Formicola, Mary C. Segers, and Paul Weber, Faith-based Initiatives and the Bush Administration: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003): 64.

74.) Ibid. PAGE

75.) U.S. Constitution, amend. 1.

76.) “Introduction to the Establishment Clause,” University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law, http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/estabinto.htm.

77.) Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).

78.) “Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists,” Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html.

79.) Ibid.

80.) Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984).

81.) Bowen v. Kendrick , 487 U.S. 589 (1988).

82.) “Extremism in America,” The Anti-Defamation League, http://www.adl.org/Learn/ext_us/WCOTC.asp.

83.) United States Government Accountability Office, Faith-Based and Community Initiative: Improvements in Monitoring Grantees and Measuring Performance Could Enhance Accountability, GAO-06-616, Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, 2006.

84.) Jo Renee Formicola, Mary C. Segers, and Paul Weber, Faith-based Initiatives and the Bush Administration: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003): 64-65.

85.) George W Bush, “Establishment of White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37. no. 5, February 2, 2001: 235-236; George W Bush, “Agency Responsibilities With Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37. no. 5, February 2, 2001: 233-235.

86.) George W Bush, “Agency Responsibilities With Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37. no. 5, February 2, 2001: 233-235.

87.) Rebecca Sager, Faith, Politics, and Power: The Politics of Faith-Based Initiatives, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010): 4.

88.) Laurie Goodstein, “Minister, a Bush Ally, Gives Church as Site for Alito Rally,” New York Times, January 5, 2006, Washington section.

89.) Rebecca Sager, Faith, Politics, and Power: The Politics of Faith-Based Initiatives, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010): 122.

90.) United States Government Accountability Office, Faith-Based and Community Initiative: Improvements in Monitoring Grantees and Measuring Performance Could Enhance Accountability, GAO-06-616, Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, 2006.

91.) Ibid.

92.) “Bush: Faith more than a Sunday formality,” USA Today, July 25, 2000, http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/e2248.htm.

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