Friday, January 28, 2005

The Chimp Really Cares About Civil Rights And Liberties

Our intrepid leader at his clarification meeting with the press:

Q Second question, on race. You brought it up in the inaugural address, and yesterday and today you have black leaders here at the White House discussing issues of race. Yesterday you didn't discuss civil rights. But where are you in the second term as it relates to race in America?

THE PRESIDENT: Civil rights is -- is a good education. Civil rights is opportunity. Civil rights is home ownership. Civil rights is owning your own business. Civil rights is making sure all aspects of our society are open for everybody. And we discussed that yesterday. And I believe that what I said was important, that we've got to shed ourselves of bigotry if we expect to lead by example. And I'll do the very best I can as the President to make sure that the promise -- and I believe in the promise of America -- is available for everybody.

Krugman today, as one who really, and I mean really, hits the proverbial nail on the head:

What's really shameful about Mr. Bush's exploitation of the black death rate, however, is what it takes for granted.

The persistent gap in life expectancy between African-Americans and whites is one measure of the deep inequalities that remain in our society - including highly unequal access to good-quality health care. We ought to be trying to diminish that gap, especially given the fact that black infants are two and half times as likely as white babies to die in their first year.

Now nobody can expect instant progress in reducing health inequalities. But the benefits of Social Security privatization, if any, won't materialize for many decades. By using blacks' low life expectancy as an argument for privatization, Mr. Bush is in effect taking it as a given that 40 or 50 years from now, large numbers of African-Americans will still be dying before their time.

Is this an example of what Mr. Bush famously called "the soft bigotry of low expectations?" Maybe not: it isn't particularly soft to treat premature black deaths not as a tragedy we must end but as just another way to push your ideological agenda. But bigotry - yes, that sounds like the right word.

Yeah, he talks a go....well he talks a game. But there's no walking, know what I mean? This is a great example of an issue we can shove up their ass and show people who don't ordinarily think about human or civil rights that it deserves some of their attention. This one issue can illustrate fundamental differences between Bush's "I've got mine philosophy," and ours.

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