Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Vote for Bush: He helps Americans, when Congress forces him to

Count me unsurprised. Bush has sunk to a new low in election politics: Trumpeting programs that he's cut and/or tried to eliminate.

Justice Department officials recently announced that they were awarding $47 million to scores of local law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers. Mr. Bush had just proposed cutting the budget for the program, known as Community Oriented Policing Services, by 87 percent, to $97 million next year, from $756 million.

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Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years.

The administration also announced recently that it was providing $11.6 million to the states so they could buy defibrillators to save the lives of heart attack victims. But Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the budget for such devices by 82 percent, to $2 million from $10.9 million.
And this stuff is just a warm-up. I fully expect unprecedented levels of lying from Bush during the campaign. In 2000, of course, he was lying about being a moderate and a "compassionate conservative," and he got away with it in part because he didn't have a track record at the national level -- there wasn't hard evidence which showed how he would govern as president.

Now, of course, there's plenty of evidence. But Bush will try to run as a moderate again. He'll play down the extremist things he's done, and play up the moderate things -- even if they were done against his wishes. Just look how he's taken credit for the Department of Homeland Security. When Democrats first suggested it, Dubya was adamantly opposed. He was against it for a long time, caving only when the political pressure became too great. Now he acts like it was his idea all along. Expect more of the same.

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