Bush's First 100 Days: Barney Frank

But, again, I want to stress — this has very little to do with public policy. Again, you know, we are adults who have been doing this for a long time, and we have been charming each other, and we're pretty much immune to each other's charm in terms of it influencing, you know, where we are in, in public policy.

I mean, Lyndon Johnson had this quote, in which he said if you can't go out with their women and drink their liquor, and eat their food, and take their money, and still vote against them, you don't belong in this business.

Now I would not want to ascribe to the president all those things, that's not what he's offering, but it — people have vastly exaggerated the personal aspect of this, and they've exaggerated it probably 'cause nothing else was happening.

Now that we have gotten into public policy, I think you're going to see a lot less of this personality business.

Faith-Based Initiative

The faith-based organization proposal, clearly near and dear to the president's heart, but even in the first third of the 100 days, trouble coming from both the right and the left.

Yeah, because it's not logical. I mean, if the policy position is that you should not discriminate against religious organizations but allow them to participate just as any other, then it makes sense and it's not particularly new.

What's new is somewhat controversial, because either you give them government money to inculcate religion — and look, some of these people are saying if you let me make people be more religious than they otherwise were, that will have good effects on their personality, well, that's a — that's — the Constitution protects your freedom to do that.

But the Constitution also protects people's freedom from having it done to them, and the notion that you would give public money, and then say to people you can get this service only if you're prepared to subscribe to this Jewish or Baptist or Roman Catholic, or Orthodox, or Scientology screed, that's just wrong.

And then of course if you go the other way, and say, well, wait a minute, okay, we won't let them do the religion, then the religious institutions say well, wait a minute, we're not out here, you know, hiring ourselves out to the highest bidder with no content. So I think that one's very poorly thought out.

Again — and again, though, which [is] an interesting reversal of Reagan. The Reagan position had been, the conservative position had been Government takes care of the basics. It cleans the streets and provides police. Beyond that, it's up to private charity.

The philosophy of the Reagan people was, yes, there should be help but it should be private charity.

What Bush is now saying is, well, you know, private charity can't make it on its own. Private charity's important but the Government has to fund private charity.

I don't think that's been sufficiently dwelt upon, that what, what many of us are saying is look, you know, Government has to take on the responsibility of helping people. I mean, my, my shorthand is private charities can help you with the quality of life but they can't do the quantity of life.

They can't provide the basics. Bush, in effect, is admitting the inadequacy of private charity on their own resources, and is saying, okay, this has gotta be a Government program, can the Government in effect hire the private charities?

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