Compassionate Conservatism

Here’s yet another fine example of what Republicans must mean when they talk about compassionate conservatism (WSJ, subscription required), though more along the lines of the Dennis Hastert or Barbara Bush variety.

Two shaky House incumbents, Democrat Melancon and Republican Boustany, hope response to hurricane rallies voters behind them. House Republican campaign chief Reynolds touts chance to market conservative social-policy solutions; Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did."

Baker explains later he didn’t intend flippancy but has long wanted to improve low-income housing. (emphasis added)

Didn’t intend the flippancy? Is that another way of saying "I didn’t know anyone else was listening?" Just like Trent Lott, Dick Armey and others, this is just another  example of how these people really talk and think when they think they’re in safe, sympathetic company.

Should a guy like this, with that kind of attitude about some of his own constituents, be in Congress? Maybe he needs to hear what people think about his comments. You can contact him via email here, or use the information below.

Washington DC Office:
Phone: 202-225-3901
Fax: 202-225-7313

Baton Rouge Office:
Phone: 225-929-7711 or toll-free (in La. only) 800-892-1253
Fax: 225-929-7688

Via The Stakeholder.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Katrina, Politics, Race. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Compassionate Conservatism

  1. Joshua says:

    Maybe Baker was ditching the lower class in a submerged city because he was hoping God was getting rid of them for him too.

  2. Kal Palnicki says:

    The real power of money has always been what it can keep quiet or unheard. Politicians tend to say things in private they believe or think that the listener wants to hear. rarely do they tell any truth because that is the worst sin a politician can commit.

    In the South it has long been impolitic to say in public what the whole public wants to hear. But when there is a measure of privacy, statements spill forth that would never be typed up for a press release. Such utterances reflect the thinking of the big donors to that politician’s efforts to remain in power. Most often they reflect the thinking of the toady that is the elected official spouting them because that is the safest course of action in the presence of big money.

    We desperately need to have public financing of elections so as to rid ourselves of the insidious influences of the bigotry of the wealthy and the wanna-be wealthy.

  3. Jose Hipolito says:

    Get these idiots out of public office.  They have no shame.  It’s a pity that “their God” didn’t “clean house” in their mansions and took them and their families out of the gene pool.

  4. Perry Johnson says:

    Another example of the ineptitude and lack of leadership in our current government. Evidentally Mr. Baker needs to reread his Bible and understand that people don’t want judgment and condescension, they want a compassionate helping hand. The Golden Rule states that we are to treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. Perhaps Mr. Baker needs to learn a valuable lesson by living in public housing in New Orleans for awhile to experience first hand the harsh realities there. If you don’t have empathy for others, you will be hard pressed to understand and relate.

    Additionally, instead of excusing himself by saying he actually meant something else, he needs to issue a genuine apology for his crass remarks. After all, aren’t accountability and responsibility values that conservatives promote? Or is it just self centered hypocrisy–don’t do what I do, do what I say? Small wonder that kind of message fails to resonate with the public.

  5. Ann Wilson says:

    You know, every single time I don’t think our so-called elected (pausing to shake head in disgust) can’t sink any lower, someone comes along to prove me wrong.

    This ranks right up there with Barbara Bush’s comments about the evacuees really liking Texas.

    Please, please tell me this entire nightmare is finally the tipping point to get this country back on track.

    Thanks for the posting and the contact info!

  6. etta tyler says:

    Maybe a good way to clean up public housing is to raise the minimum wage and provide some decently paying jobs. I’m ashamed to think I belong to the same species as Representative Baker. He has no business being in a position of power with this kind of callous attitude. It’s beyond disgusting. Pathological is closer to the truth.

  7. ej moore says:

    I hope someone is sending this to the big media. They are idiots all.


    Baker, and so many more Republicans like him, are products of the outragious Gerrymandering system that denies America of relevant representation in Congress. Republicans control Congress and most must think like he does or they would have impeached Bush long ago. It can not be reasonably explained that this crowd represents the pervading attitudes of Americans, or we would be in serious trouble. So hopw do we dump him and all the others like him?

  9. Complete assinine drivel by some totally thoughtless egotistic idiots.

  10. The truth does not need moderation.

  11. Dana Marie says:

    Gee, it’s makes one wonder if we just were able to do away with a corrupt government
    (i.e. lazy ass politicians whose only means of income is who they can suck up to the best)
    and go back to a way of life where hard work, a compassionate community, and true
    freedom reigns we might just be better off?

    From all the stories I’m reading of Katrina, I realize we are stronger (and more
    compassionate) as caring individuals than as subservient (and mind numb drone) tax

    Time for another Independence Day!

  12. Philip Carey says:

    Saw this on a t-shirt:
    So many right-wing christians
    So few lions

  13. Barry Mallis says:

    Some interesting thinkers have observed that we have a right-hand column and a left-hand column when it comes to communicating. The Right-hand column contains our verbalized expression, while the left-hand column contains our thoughts.
    Imagine a piece of writing paper folded in the middle to form the two columns. On the left is what we think. These thoughts hardly ever emerge in their entirety. You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s person’s really a (fill in the blank),” while what you actually utter is very different.
    Politicians live in a carefully orchestrated world, by and large, where power inexhorably erodes Common Decency, most any way you define it. That Mr. Baker should “speak his mind,” let us peek at this left-hand column, is revealing, of course.
    What’s so peculiar to me is how the American people seem to care so little about duplicity, dissembling, etc. etc. And when Truth is revealed, we become politically catatonic, prefering to leave the rough stuff to the gun-slingers in charge.
    Ah, politics.

  14. Jon says:

    Email sent to Baker:

    “Yeah, thank god all them negroes died in that hurricane so I don’t have to keep my wallet in my front pocket next time I visit New Orleans. Ooops…didn’t mean to sound flippant.”

    BTW, if you want to send the incompassionate bastard an email you have to enter a vaild 6th distrcit zip code. I used 70791.

  15. Ralph says:

    Was overheard? So you’re flipping out on a rumor? No fact-checking or anything just take a rumor and start calling for heads? Is this responsible?

  16. Drew says:

    Scarier than Rep. Baker’s disgusting comments is that he received 72% of the vote in the 2004 election. He’s just one person, but there apparently are as many as 189,000 others who MAY share his views.

  17. Drew says:

    Scarier than Rep. Baker’s disgusting comments is that he received 72% of the vote in the 2004 election. He’s just one person, but there apparently are as many as 189,000 others who MAY share his views.

  18. jh says:

    Email sent to Baker:

    “Are you happy that your God has killed
    a whole bunch of black people?”

    zip code — 70791

  19. BQ says:

    Yo, Ralph
    How often does a politico try to explain away a statement he denies making? By saying that he didn’t mean to be flippant, he admitted making the statement. jeez

  20. John Hanks says:

    We should have abolished the rich long ago. They pay for treason.

  21. Michael Menaul says:

    Since President Bush came under attack for having awarded Freedom Medals to two of the people who screwed up so horribly over Iraq, I propose that he be allowed to make slightly different awards to those whose example has shined so brightly in the current crisis.

    For the H.M.S Pinafore Award for conspicuous ineptitude in public office (“I polished up the brass so care-ful-ly, that now I am an admiral in the King’s Na-vy.”), I nominate FEMA director Michael Brown.

    For the Marie Antoinette Award for cultural blindness (“The Peasants have no bread? Let them eat cake!”), I nominate none other than former First Lady and president’s mom Barbara Bush.

    For the Ben Tre, Vietnam Award for calling for the bulldozers for New Orleans (“We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”), I nominate Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

    Sounds like you found a nominee for the Joseph Goebels Award for Slum Improvement.

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  23. Don says:

    This is Rep. Baker’s response to the statement (on the same page where you can send a message to him under “Whats New”/”Response to statement”): “Today I am taken aback and perturbed by a comment wrongly attributed to me. For almost two decades I have fought for New Orleans public housing residents, touring Desire and other housing residences many times, conducting field hearings, and requesting HUD Inspector General investigations over the poor conditions. One of those inquiries concluded that the housing authority in New Orleans squandered hundreds of millions of dollars and that the families were forced to live in substandard, indecent conditions, and led to an actual takeover of the housing authority by federal authorities. With that as background, what I remember expressing, in a private conversation with a housing advocate and member of my staff, was that ‘we have been trying for decades to clean up New Orleans public housing to provide decent housing for residents, and now it looks like God is finally making us do it.’

  24. numfarvera says:

    So, I called the number for “Representative Baker”. The first time, it rang and rang. The 2nd time, I received one of his flunkies, who proceeded to explain that they had caller ID and all calls were recorded. LIKE I CARE!

    I told her what an ass-wipe her boss was (in those terms btw) and how I wished I could vote in Louisiana next year. She repeated her threat regarding caller id, and I told her to make sure she had it right and recited the number to her, just to be safe.

    Fear, is the Republican party’s currency and they spend it with wild abandon.

    I choose to let them know who I AM and they can bite my sack.

  25. Ronald James says:

    Disgust, disgust, disgust, outrageous disgust, deep disgust, profound disgust, all the disgust one can muster.

  26. diana says:

    hey guys, he’s only taking comments from Louisiana, apparently. there is no field or option for other states. do you have an alternative email address c/o State or House?? thanks…

  27. georgia d says:

    Wall Street Journal and others have already published articles about how the 9th Ward (poor black district) will likely be “gentrified” and how developers are counting on the poor to stay out of Nola.

    Furthermore, WSJ and others have reported that the 17th Street levee (near 9th ward) was broken down by a “loosely moored barge” and not simply water. Many residents have reported hearing sounds of explosives going off around 6 a.m. the morning of the major breach. One was interviewed by David Muir on ABC. Of course they have been dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”.

  28. Ali Lama says:

    Brown of FEMA is just one of many incompetent RNC “yes-men” Bush & the RNC has seen fit to foist on unknowing citizens in yet another routine “cronyism appointment”.

    It is of no wonder an apparent supporter of this ‘cabal of jackals’ jumps at such a ludicrous denial. I submit, mindless defense of Baker, ie “it’s just a rumor”, is typical of the “say anything, do whatever you want” mentality of the horse’s asses ru(i)nning our once great country.

    Baker is merely emulating his moronic cronies, RNC, Bush’it, Cheney, corporate lobbyists, et al of challenged social mental intellect, in effect, a gang of self-serving, greedy, racist “compassionate conservatives”! 8-(

    IMNSHO what is needed is a “good cleaning in Washington”, perhaps by another act of God be it flood, plague, or perhaps a rainfall of frogs would get these sorry bastards attention. Christians “my ass”!

  29. Ala Clax says:

    How do you sleep at night and when you awaken how do you look in the mirror the next morning.

    Baker…..You are a PIG!
    You shame the name of mankind and brotherhood.
    DISGUSTING!!!! Get the hell out of office.

    Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

  30. Pingback: The Tattered Coat » Blog Archive » Racism and Katrina

  31. Sam Van Nostrand says:

    Yo, Baker: YOU and all your republican cronies who are already jockeying to turn NOLA into a corrupt looting of our national will and compassion, just like Iraq, are what needs to be finally cleaned up. I am so disgusted by all of you. 

  32. Steve Sellers says:

    When they think no one is listening, we learn what they really think!1

  33. Beatrice Howard says:

    I am outraged but somehow, not surprised.  Republicans usually don’t care about the poor or African Americans.

  34. Stephen M. Osborn says:

                      Never Mind, It’s Just Collateral Damage                                               by
                                     Stephen M. Osborn

    WE sit transfixed as we watch, once again, the power of Mother Nature as she hammers yet another area. We are facing a record number of hurricanes sweeping in from the Atlantic this season, all with the possibility of reaching category 4 or 5. Typhoons are striking the Asian mainland with increased frequency and violence. Sea levels are rising and glaciers are melting at a record rate. Both droughts and flooding are affecting the grain belts of the world with the threat of world famine growing every day.
        Meanwhile, back on the ranch, what has been happening? A program was funded to strengthen the levees around New Orleans after the flooding brought about by a category 3 hurricane some years ago. The Bush regime needed money to reward the big oil and big business cronies who had gotten him appointed to office, so those funds were slashed to the bone to help pay for the tax giveaways to the rich. Then, when the Iraq/Afghan wars began, more money was needed for the war effort and to pay Halliburton and Brown Root et al., so the bones were ground up and scattered. New Orleans was left to fend for itself as far as the levees were concerned. As the contracts were to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and New Orleans didn’t have it, work stopped.
        FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was originally set up to deal with catastrophic emergencies like post hurricane New Orleans, was restructured under Homeland Security to deal with terrorist attacks. Natural disasters took a back seat.
        The world scientific community, which has modeled for decades the probable effects of global warming, predicting many years ago what is happening today and suggesting ways to at least slow it down, has been under direct attack from the government and its special (mainly oil and coal) interests. This has descended to McCarthylike personal attacks on scientists who will not recant their findings. Killing the messenger does not invalidate the message.
        Education, safety nets for the poor, Medicare, Social Security, Unions, an equitable tax structure to finance this nation; all are under continuous attack by this regime.
        Billions are available for the killing of countless Iraqis and Afghans under the theory that some of them may be fighting us. Many of those billions are finding their way into the Carlisle Group and Brown Root and Halliburton, et al., thence back into the coffers of the Bush regime. Every dollar spent helping the poor, caring for our own veterans shattered by Iraq and Afghanistan, planning and preventative steps to minimize the effects of natural disasters here, is begrudged and only provided after long and bitter political infighting.
        Our policy in fighting wars on foreign soil is to not count the foreign dead. We reluctantly tally our own dead with very bizarre bookkeeping, and we try to hide our wounded from public scrutiny.
        Since the current tragedy in New Orleans could have been avoided by completing the projects which were under way by the Corps of Engineers in a timely manner and, since those projects were cancelled because Bush needed money to go to war and to reward his friends, we could tally up the dead and suffering in New Orleans as war dead. However, Bush wants to keep that total down lest the American People balk at the cost of controlling oil for his friends and building and maintaining military bases in the Middle East for future wars, so perhaps we should just call them collateral damage and forget them as we do the Iraqis and Afghans. The attention span of the American Public is short and this will all fade from our consciousness like the tsunami in Southeast Asia has. The problems will remain, of course, and some money will grudgingly be siphoned off from the government’s more important agenda to pacify the people and assure them that something is being done.
        On the bright side, I’m sure Bush is grateful to Katrina. She took the public’s attention away from both Cindy Sheehan and the Iran/Afghan quagmire for a while.
    693 words

  35. Diane Allred, Olalla,Wa. says:

    If the housing projects were such a thorn in this person’s hide why didn’t he do something about stopping Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and use the money to re-build,clean up or restore the projects?The rich didn’t need those cuts.They have plenty of illegal loop holes to protect their money.They only pay taxes on the first $90,000 anyway so what’s the problem?Why do they need cuts?

  36. Anne Evans says:

    These are the folks that should be required to work on a chain-gang to get the feeling of what it’s really like.

  37. Gil Wilson says:

    The great news here is that "these people from the projects" may yet be his voters.  Would that God could kill of a few Republicans in the house. Maybe that’s God’s great plan.

    from a teacher of those government victims in the New Orleans projects.

  38. Sanford Silver says:

    What you see with this kind of comment is no different than the kind of crap neo-cons and other ideologically bankrupt politicians and public figures have always spouted.  We just never had this many of them running the country before.

    There is only greed at the heart of this Adminstration and the groundbreaker Republicans such as deLay  who made it possible for a collusion of government branches that have provided corporate rule in this nation.

    Capitalism has no conscience, it is up to the citizens of a society that adopts Capitalism as it’s economic system to supply the morals and ethics that insure the economy is of value to the entire population.  Neo-cons have neither conscience of common sense. Hence the blatant gouging of the taxpayers, consumers and workers in addition to the total disdain for the poor.  The only thing I’ll give them is that they truly seem color blind in that disdain for the losers in the rigged economic game they have used the power of government to cement as law.

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  40. MBains says:

    <i>It can not be reasonably explained that this crowd represents the pervading attitudes of Americans, or we would be in serious trouble.</i>

    Well Michael, it can be <i>religiously</i> explained as is documented by the serious trouble we Are in right now. ExxonMobil says PEAK oil is in 5 years. Hybrid cars and Public Transportation are still more years than that away from being usefully ubiquitous. Americans still accept War without fully understand its Nature or Reason.

    But hey, we survived the Reagan years. Right? ??

    BTW, I found this blog via Tom Paine . com.

    It’s just one more good reason to keep reading there. Thanks RoT.

  41. Unfortunately these guys did not just drive up and take office. They got elected. Even if the elections were of dubious nature, many voters STAYED HOME. Until people quit whining about corruption and turn the crooks out at the polls, we will continue to suffer at their hands. The lesson, for God’s sake, GO VOTE next time.

  42. Cee says:

    Despite being a writer and former English professor, I find words failing me in trying to describe my utter revulsion over the horrors of life in the Bush dictatorship, or is that puppetship? Democracy? What a sick joke! That would imply our votes actually count, or that a majority gets off its collective ass to vote. While we all engage in our little protests, these bastards and their smug, insensitive bitch wives, mothers and lackeys are laying atomic bombs that will blight the rest of our lives. In my mid-forties, I’m tired of fighting the good fight everyday. I have books to write. My characters count on me to express their stories. Canada, even Ireland, look better everyday. This country seems to be in free-fall, a final decline. I doubt we will ever see “Morning in America” again. Look what the RNC did to that dream! Our evil makes the Romans look like children.


    The Conservatives already have their “soldiers” out recruiting votes for the next
    election. The only way to beat them is to out
    number them. I sincerely hope that all of you, who are appalled by Baker and his ilk, will work hard to get out the vote against these
    I am 81 years old and have always been proud to be called a liberal. Look up the definition
    I have proudly campaigned for my candidate, no matter what party, since I first voted at 21. I have been very disheartened to witness the apathy of younger people. It seems Americans care only for sports and celebrities.
    My husband is 84. Should they win again we are definitely leaving the country. Don’t let that happen !
    You have to remember your present feelings.
    Keep your resentment fresh. Don’t let the “other guy” take care of it. Voting is the most important thing you can do. Thank you.


    By William Fisher

    The speech President George W. Bush delivered in New Orleans last evening had the phony ring of a second-term president driven by a single goal: to rebuild what is left of his tattered legacy.

    The president still contends he is a ‘compassionate conservative’, yet conservatives in his own party will find little joy in his huge spending proposals for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. In that sense, his speech could just as well have been made by Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. No legacy there.

    Maybe the ‘compassionate’ part will be about race, which he mentioned briefly as the fault of slavery. But for five years the Bush Administration has contorted itself to avoid even using the word. Save for his efforts to bring more African Americans into the Republican Party, the President has none nothing  — zero, zippo – to stimulate an urgently needed national conversation about race. No legacy there.

    Or maybe it was about poverty, another toxic word in the Bush lexicon. Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans were going to stimulate economic growth and the trickle-down jobs were going to make the poorest of us less poor. Yet the statistics show us that during a time when the rich got richer, jobs for the poor disappeared and more people got poor and the poor got even poorer. More people in America live below the poverty line now than on the day Mr. Bush took office. Yet the president uttered not a single word about rolling back any of these tax cuts. No legacy there either.

    Health care, too, got a passing nod in the president’s speech. He is going to bring health insurance to the people of the Gulf Coast while millions more Americans have none. The Administration has ignored Medicaid, the only vehicle available to provide health care for the poor, and used his bully pulpit to hawk private accounts as Social Security’s contribution to his ‘ownership society’. The president’s proposals were roundly rejected by the people, and he is now in the process of reducing critical funding for Medicaid. No legacy there.

    After 9/11, the President correctly took on the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan. But then he diverted resources from there to Iraq to wage a ‘war of choice’ – on the cheap – without enough troops, without any meaningful post-conflict planning, and on shamefully spurious grounds that kept shifting like sand castles. The result has been an Afghanistan now famous as the world’s leading supplier of opium and an Iraq that is drowning in the blood of its own people and ours. No legacy there.

    In his defining bullhorn moment, standing with a firefighter atop the wreckage of the World Trade Center, the president promised to make the nation safer from terrorists. The jury is still out on that pledge.

    But as for making us safer from natural terror, the jury’s verdict came two weeks ago. The unimaginably huge and bureaucratic caricature called the Department of Homeland Security was headed by a smart guy with no national security experience whatever, grossly under-funded, disorganized, and populated with political operatives who helped the president prevail in the 2004 election. Its dysfunctionality has been documented in report after report. Four years after 9/11, the radios used by first responders along the entire Gulf Coast still didn’t work.

    But the bottom line for the DHS is that it ignored all credible warnings of an impending disaster until it was far too late. Did someone forget to tell the president? Or was he told and decided to take no action? Maybe we’ll never know.

    Mr. Bush has been called our ‘MBA President’. All MBAs are taught the art of delegation. But they are also supposed to be taught the two accompanying principles of delegation: Hire the best and the brightest as your managers and monitor their performance or, as Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust but verify.”

    Mr. Bush has been long on trust and virtually absent on monitoring and verification. To be realistic, the president cannot be expected to monitor our huge government – no one person could, MBA or not. But is it not now reasonable to question the competence, independence and imagination of those he hired to advise him? We know they are superb at spin; but are they any good at anything else? Like having the courage to warn the president that Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf Coast  — and on his presidency!

    Mr. Bush was right to accept responsibility for the government’s response to Katrina, but his admission of any mistake is being hailed by his supporters as some kind of epiphany. The truth is that, beyond getting ‘Brownie’ to fall on his sword, the president ran out of people to blame. A robust response is his job.

    Many in the TV punditocracy are now calling Katrina Mr. Bush’s ‘second bullhorn moment’. Dick Morris, political guru, went so far as so say on television last night that Katrina was a blessing in disguise for giving him an opportunity to save his second term.

    This is a wildly absurd assertion. The reason is that fewer and fewer people in this country now believe that Mr. Bush can actually deliver. To do so, he will need to cajole Congress to fund his grandiose promises. And Congress is acutely aware of the political price they could pay in 2006 by further mortgaging our great-grandchildren with an even larger deficit.

    All the polling data suggests this is not going to happen. In short, the president has lost his credibility. Which makes him not merely a lame duck second-termer, but a paraplegic.

  45. Diane says:

    Mr.Baker reminds me of the slum lords you read about in most major cities.He should be sentenced to spending a year living in a poor area he supposedly represents.

  46. Diane says:

    “your comment is awaiting moderation” what does that mean?


  48. Carol Bayard says:

    What is going on in our country for the past 5 years is nothing short of Fascism. We worry sometimes about how safe we are talking on our telephones for fear of retributions from the resident of the White House. Nothing would surprise me coming from this administration. Did Bin Laden really attack the Twin Towers? Or was there a federal need for a Pearl Harbor type of event so that they could declare their lucrative war?  We must impeach the lot of them if this country is ever to regain our democracy.

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