That's Really Big of Him

A closer look at the cornerstone of George W.'s compassionate conservatism

Although George W. Bush is riding high, his stated philosophy of "compassionate conservatism" is not so popular. Liberals think it's a contradiction in terms. The press thinks it's meaningless spin. Many conservatives think it's way too defensive.

In fact, these criticisms are unfair. Compassionate conservatism is emerging as a doctrine with a specific meaning, which deserves to be treated seriously. The meaning can be glimpsed in Bush's promise to spend $8 billion financing social programs of "faith-based" and other private institutions. And it is reflected in the tax bill emerging from the Republican-controlled Congress.

In a nutshell, the meaning is...

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