Bush's First 100 Days: Barney Frank

But then you get into this issue. If you hire the private religious charities, the big religious charities, you've got a constitutional problem. And, to me, by the way, the problem here is freedom of religion. I'm not as worried about the establishment of religion. I'm not as worried about some incidental benefit going to a religion.

What I'm saying is this. You should not have to get Government benefits by agreeing to particular religious practices. It's an impingement on the freedom of these people's religion, and, as I said, on the other hand, you have some of the religions saying, well, what do I need you for, just to give me money, if I'm not going to be able to practice my religion?

So I think that one is going to founder.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Congressman, there was an illusion at the beginning of this administration that maybe it, it would actually be the kinder, gentler Bush administration. That this was going to be a group of moderate Republicans. As we move into the, into the, the end of the second trimester, now, of the first 100 days, what do you think?

Well, the moderates, as of today, have taken an awful beating. I never, myself, felt that that was likely to happen. I think one of the things people have to understand with politicians is you should not confuse amiability with a lack of ideological fervor.

You can very pleasant zealots, you can have very grumpy moderates. We tend to think there is a correlation between being of a sunny disposition, and being of a, of a moderate ideology, and they're just totally uncorrelated. George Bush, President George Bush is a very amiable man who is uniformly pleasant company, it would appear to be, most of the time, but who is following a very, very right-wing course.

And the moderates, you know, as of now, Colin Powell, who's been repudiated, in a very embarrassing way on both Korea and Iraq; Christie Whitman was made to do a complete turnaround on the question of CO2 emissions.

John Dilulio, the guy at the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, has been getting sort of anonymously criticized in the White House.

It's a very, very conservative administration and I think, as I said, people confused someone being personally pleasant with someone being ideologically moderate, and they're just, they're just unrelated.

The Big Speech

As you looked at that, sort of a non State of the Union Address, that the president gave at what we'll call the beginning of the second trimester, was there anything in that address that sort a finalized that for you?

Well, actually, the address itself was kind of misleading. I would have really liked that speech, if I believed it. That is, if I thought what he was saying were things he really planned to do. The problem was he had already taken policy positions totally at variance with —

What did you — what did you like in the speech?

Well, I was particularly pleased with the racial profiling, that was a very strong stand, and to give George Bush credit, Republicans in the previous Congress were reluctant to embrace that as an issue. Racism continues to be the besetting problem of America in my view. The, the racism in our past, the scars that that's left, the, the — the damage it's gone, and for George Bush to speak out so unequivocally against racial profiling was admirable.

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