The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

HAVING IT BOTH WAYS, CAMPAIGN STYLE

Interesting how the Bushies try to paint Kerry as a flip-flopper, when stuff like this is out there:
Like many of its predecessors, the Bush White House has used the machinery of government to promote the re-election of the president by awarding federal grants to strategically important states. But in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply.

For example, Justice Department officials recently announced that they were awarding $47 million to scores of local law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers. Mr. Bush had just proposed cutting the budget for the program, known as Community Oriented Policing Services, by 87 percent, to $97 million next year, from $756 million.

The administration has been particularly energetic in publicizing health programs, even ones that had been scheduled for cuts or elimination.

Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years.

The administration also announced recently that it was providing $11.6 million to the states so they could buy defibrillators to save the lives of heart attack victims. But Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the budget for such devices by 82 percent, to $2 million from $10.9 million.

Whether they involve programs Mr. Bush supported or not, the grant announcements illustrate how the administration blends politics and policy, blurring the distinction between official business and campaign-related activities.
Given the content of the article, that last paragraph is UNBELIEVABLY polite to Bush.

More from later in Robert Pear's piece:
The contrast between politics and policy is particularly striking when the administration takes credit for spending money appropriated by Congress against the president's wishes.

In April, Secretary Thompson announced that the administration was awarding $3.1 million in grants to improve health care in rural areas of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico and New York. He did not mention that the administration was trying to cut the same rural health program by 72 percent, to $11.1 million next year, from $39.6 million.

Mr. Thompson likewise recently boasted that the administration was awarding $16 million to 11 universities to train blacks and Hispanic Americans as doctors, dentists and pharmacists. But at the same time, the administration was urging Congress to abolish the program, on the ground that "private and corporate entities" could pay for training.
The article itself is frustratingly written, because it seems to be two interwoven articles going back and forth: One on the duplicity of the Bush administration boasting about various programs, the other about the politics of Bush's travel schedule. Obviously, the bits I excerpted come from the first of those two.

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