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Ex-Aide Questions Bush Vow to Back Faith-Based Efforts

More on poverty, this time from former Bush deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and a self described "compassionate conservative." He discusses the failure of the Faith Based Initiatives he ran. I include some of the reviews from the Washington Post, but read it all over at Beliefnet.com.

"A former White House official said yesterday that President Bush has failed to deliver on his promise to help religious groups serve the poor, the homeless and drug addicts because the administration lacks a genuine commitment to its "compassionate conservative" agenda.

David Kuo, who was deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for much of Bush's first term, said in published remarks that the White House reaped political benefits from the president's promise to help religious organizations win taxpayer funding to care for "the least, the last and the lost" in the United States. But he wrote: "There was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda."

Analyzing Bush's failure to secure $8 billion in promised funding for the faith-based initiative during his first term, Kuo said there was "snoring indifference" among Republicans and "knee-jerk opposition" among Democrats in Congress.

"Capitol Hill gridlock could have been smashed by minimal West Wing effort," Kuo wrote on Beliefnet.com, a Web site on religion. "No administration since [Lyndon B. Johnson's] has had a more successful legislative record than this one. From tax cuts to Medicare, the White House gets what the White House really wants. It never really wanted the 'poor people stuff.' "

Kuo's remarks were a rare breach of discipline for an administration that places a high premium on unity among current and former officials, and they mark the second time a former high-ranking official has criticized Bush's approach to the faith-based issue.

In August 2001, John J. DiIulio Jr., then-director of the faith-based office, became the first top Bush adviser to quit, after seven months on the job. In an interview with Esquire magazine a year later, DiIulio said the Bush White House was obsessed with the politics of the faith-based initiative but dismissive of the policy itself, and he slammed White House advisers as "Mayberry Machiavellis."
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