Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Teach a Man to Fish
without bait, hooks, or water?

Quite a few months ago I was on a local TV news talk show representing Christian Democrats in a debate with a born again Republican who has turned his church into a political soap box for conservatism in its narrowest forms. One of the regular "talking heads" was a local leader of the John Locke propaganda machine. After I noted that the whole thrust of Jesus' message seems to be aimed taking care of the "least of these," both of the representatives from the right assured me they agreed but that the Republican way was to reach a man to fish rather than dole out fish. Unfortunately, at that point the time ran out and I could only say, "But poverty has increased." Yesterday Helen Thomas tried to make the same point at Scottie's Spin Hour, when he responded to a question about Clinton's criticisms by saying:

So I think it's important to look at the policies, and we're glad to talk about the policies. And one question you have to come back to is, do we continue to move forward on failed policies of the past that have left too many behind, or do we think in new and bold ways to help all Americans. And this President has thought in new and bold ways and actually acted. And we are making great progress to do so.

Helen pointed out the obvious:

Q If he was so bold, why do we have 37 million people living below the poverty line?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, do you want me to go back and talk about the economy?

Q I mean, if his policies are so great.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll be glad to go -- more Americans are working than ever before, Helen. We've --

Q Thirty-seven million below the poverty --

Needless to say, he launched into a bunch of figures that painted the usual rosy glow over reality.


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