Bush's First 100 Days: Barney Frank

But as to the rest, there was just a great disconnect between everything he said he wanted to do and what he's in fact doing. I mean, you talk about leaving no child behind, et cetera, et cetera, and then you put in a budget that savages the poorest children in this country.

And yet, as you look at his budget, most of the money — not most — the money, that the largest increase goes to education.

It goes to education, it's true, but that does not offset, for instance, a serious cut in public housing. The poorest children in America live in public housing, and the public housing budget is cut severely. Police protection for kids in public housing goes down. Physical work in public housing goes down.

Monday, April 16, 2001

So we saw at the beginning of this period the announcement on the Kyoto Protocol and the move on the lawsuits about the endangered species list, continuing this trend of rollbacks on the environment. Do you think at this point it's starting to be a real problem for the administration in terms of perception?

Well, I think it goes beyond perception. I think it's becoming very clear as of now that this is as conservative an administration, as far over to the right as we've seen. And my own sense is that the current President Bush was sort of seared by the experience of his father having been so undermined by a right-wing revolt led by Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan. But on virtually every issue — the environment, any deals with organized labor, the budget — this is an administration that's about as far to the right as it can go within the current framework of American politics. And I do think that perception is now very clear....

Picking up on the theme that you talked to us about several times before, this notion of being captive to the right for whatever reason, do you believe they're really now running into problems with that and that they're going to be seen by voters as being captive to interests of the right and of business?

Yes, I think it's very clear that it's a very right-wing administration. I'm not sure I would call them captives. I don't see any signs that he's trying to break loose. I think if we tried to run a rescue operation, the captives would — would join the — the prison guards and fight against it.

You know, when George Bush ran, he ran very consciously as a more moderate candidate than he now is as the president. Indeed, we have Pat Robertson saying — I believe it was Pat Robertson — well, we gave him a pass. Now, frankly, as a liberal, I take some political comfort from that because, clearly, George Bush understood that the extreme degree of conservatism he's pursuing in so many areas — the rights of working people, the environment, some of the budget aspects — he understood that that wouldn't sell well. So he downplayed it, and now I think it's very clear to people that he is that conservative.

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