Compassionate Conservatism Is Dead…Or Is it?

Compassionate Conservatism Is Dead…Or Is it?


First, Sully points out that the recent Republican debates signal a return to true fiscal conservatism and the death throes of anything else…

From Daily Dish:

It’s also clear that compassionate conservatism is dead. Every single candidate favors reduced taxes and big spending cuts. None, however, is prepared to say that Medicare and Social Security must be on the chopping block. The grand experiment in big-government Republicanism is therefore rhetorically over. Sorry, Mr Gerson – but only one Republican is dumb enough to embrace the bromides of government spending as the cure for all our woes. And he’s got a limit of two terms. That’s a victory of sorts for those of us urging conservatives to abandon their big spending ways. I say “of sorts” because in practice, there’s no sign that any of them, except Paul and possibly McCain, mean a scintilla of what they are saying.

But is it? See, the reason I question this is I’ve been hearing whispers that poverty is going to be a big issue in 2008, and it’s being driven by memeber of the Religious Right…like author of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren and other evangelicals who are questioning why the movement is so focused on the two wedge issues of abortion and sexuality.

From The Seattle Times:

“There’s a growing constituency in the evangelical movement that says we really do need to broaden our agenda,” said the Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., who last year stepped down as president-elect of the Christian Coalition after the group refused to include climate change and poverty on its agenda. “We need to be not so narrow and combative.” […]

The next generation will likely be less easily swayed by the right’s mobilization efforts, he added. “Younger evangelicals are slightly less partisan, and they tend to be less scared by secularism,” Wilcox said. “They’re engaging a broader social agenda.”

Last year, pastor Rick Warren, the author of the popular book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” drew the ire of some conservative Christians for inviting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama to an AIDS conference at his Saddleback Church in California.

And 86 evangelicals, including Warren and Florida’s Hunter, backed an initiative on climate change, drawing criticism from James Dobson and other conservatives who oppose Christian involvement on climate issues. Last week, a coalition of evangelical leaders launched an initiative to lobby Congress for immigration reform.

Honestly, I think compassion is alive and well…but government funded compassion from a Republican?

Well…I guess we’ll see…

  • DosPeros

    I like how you equate “compassion” with “big government spending.” And correct me if I’m wrong there Justin, that is just what I took away from your post. Small government Republicans (if they exist & hopefully they do) are already on the side of economic compassion — the encouragement of economic growth. Big government spending might be referred to as “compassion-motivated funding”, because the results are often far from being compassionate. Small government on the other hand might be refered to as economically-viable compassion.

  • Jim S

    The encouragement of economic growth as undertaken by Republicans like DosPeros does nothing for the poor. Not anymore. Has he ever admitted how badly the incomes of lower and middle class Americans have done even during the recovery from the last recession? I’ve never noticed anything that honest. Any honest economist knows that our economy will always have unemployment. Any honest Republican will admit that when they speak of the kinds of cuts that their policies would require would also severely hurt people who physically cannot work even as they claim that they only feel that those who can work shouldn’t receive help. It’s one reason why the governor of Missouri is frantically trying to recover a reputation by seeing a “reform” of Medicaid passed. Of course his reform won’t help the 90,000 people kicked out of the Medicaid program under his watch. They’re staying off of it even though the state’s financial situation is much better than when he claimed that financial necessity forced him to slash the program. Instead he and his fellow Republicans are giving out business welfare with the state funds.

  • sleipner

    “Compassion” when spoken by Republicans usually means specifically for corporations and the wealthy. Far more is spent on tax and other giveaways to those two groups than is spent in total on all social programs combined, even if you add foreign aid to that total.

    If you are poor, old, handicapped, or ill…too bad, you’re on your own. They compassionately provide you with the right to die of exposure in an alley after some other homeless person beat you up to take whatever possessions you have left.

  • DosPeros

    It is easy to be “compassionate” with other people’s money, isn’t it sleipner. But when it comes to your own money, it would appear that conservatives have a truer understanding of the term and that the people who talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk somemore about our their own compassion (with other people’s money) have a hard time walking the walk in comparison.
    Explain that oh, virtuous & compassionate one.

  • sleipner

    Dos, I’m not exactly homeless or poor myself, and I pay my fair share of taxes, and have no problem with it being used for those who are less advantaged than myself, or for infrastructure, or for schools (even though I have no children and never will).

    What is ridiculous is the people who make a million plus a year, use all sorts of arcane tax loopholes so they pay at most half the taxes that they should be paying, and then bitch about how the government takes all their money to pay for “those people”.

    And my primary point stands – government charity spending (tax giveaways) on “you people” (the rich and corporations) far exceeds what is spent on “those people” (the poor). The only reason the rest of the country doesn’t see it and scream bloody murder is because it is virtual cash that never enters the government’s budget, and is a bit too complicated of an issue to explain in easily digested soundbytes.