October 11, 2005

NEWSFLASH: BUSH NIPS GREAT SOCIETY HOPES IN BUD (via Lisa Fleischman):

Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate (JASON DePARLE, 10/11/2005, NY Times)

As Hurricane Katrina put the issue of poverty onto the national agenda, many liberal advocates wondered whether the floods offered a glimmer of opportunity. The issues they most cared about - health care, housing, jobs, race - were suddenly staples of the news, with President Bush pledged to "bold action."

But what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones.

Conservatives have already used the storm for causes of their own, like suspending requirements that federal contractors have affirmative action plans and pay locally prevailing wages. And with federal costs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast estimated at up to $200 billion, Congressional Republican leaders are pushing for spending cuts, with programs like Medicaid and food stamps especially vulnerable.

"We've had a stunning reversal in just a few weeks," said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. "We've gone from a situation in which we might have a long-overdue debate on deep poverty to the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that low-income people will be asked to bear the costs. I would find it unimaginable if it wasn't actually happening."


Even in a story that swirled with rumors and falsehood, the silliest idea that circulated was that the Hurricane would lead to a new era of Second Way approaches to poverty. Instead, predictably, the President and Republicans used it as cover to extend the Third Way.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2005 1:19 PM
Comments

And Mary Landrieu's going to end up acting like Robert Stack walking through the terminal building in "Airplane!" if she follows through on all her promises.

Posted by: John at October 11, 2005 2:00 PM

The conservative writer on the NYT was pushing the rush to a new progressive movement. He apparently believed all the early reporting he was reading and watching on broadcast TV.

Posted by: Genecis at October 11, 2005 6:18 PM

Conservatives have already used the storm for causes of their own, like suspending requirements that federal contractors [...] pay locally prevailing wages.

It's true that greedy contractors in N.O. aren't paying workers the pre-storm prevailing wages...
Instead, they're paying HIGHER than pre-storm wages.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2005 10:28 PM

The liberal leadership is simply incompetent. Response to a natural disaster needs to be about the disaster, not some other agenda you tag to it. If you're pushing that, you're not talking about the areas where the President was revealed as weak. Simply because your opponents show some weakness does not you mean can assume they will simply cave in to whatever you want.

The Democrats will not be able to push their agenda until they forge a winning majority coalition and win elections. They are still stuck in the mentality they are still in power and can control the debate.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 12, 2005 12:10 PM
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