Before I almost sound like I’m speaking in favor of George W. Bush a man I was proud to vote against twice for president, I just want to say that if I was a Conservative and if I was a Conservative it would have to be the real thing and more Rand Paul/Barry Goldwater and not a Neoconservative or someone on the Religious-Right, but if I was actually a Conservative I would be insulted by the term compassionate conservative. Why, well think about it. What does that imply? That Conservatives aren’t compassionate, they could care less about people who suffer. “But I’m a compassionate conservative and I’m different. I care about people who suffer, I just want to spend a lot less money helping people who suffer.”
Now to President Bush’s credit what he wanted to do was in sense move the Republican Party past Reagan/Gingrich. A party that was seen as mean and not caring at all for the suffering. Which is sort of ironic because when Newt Gingrich was in the U.S. House and even as Speaker, politically he would’ve been a labeled in the 1980s and 1990s had the term been around as a compassionate conservative. Back then he believed in federal funding for education and job training for the unemployed and low-skilled uneducated adults on Welfare. He was just a lot more fiscally conservative than G.W. Bush as President. And believe the Federal Government should pay for what it does. And that these services should be run by state and local governments.
What President Bush was trying to do but communicated it poorly was to say that government has a role in helping people in poverty and other forms of suffering. But that government especially the Federal Government can go it alone and do everything themselves. That the faith community and non-profits, charities and other private institutions also have a role in helping the less-fortunate in society. And that the Feds can help with financial grants to these private groups to help people meet their basic needs. But that they can also help with things like job training so people in these circumstances can finish their education and get out of poverty. Without 9/11 I think that is the President Bush we would’ve seen in the first term.