April 30, 2005

What would Robin Hood do?

John Tierney has an op-ed today about Bush's plan to reshape Social Security to give the greatest benefit to the poor:
[Democrats] tried yesterday to portray him as just another cruel, rich Republican for suggesting any cuts in future benefits, but that's not what the prime-time audience saw on Thursday night. By proposing to shore up the system while protecting low-income workers, Mr. Bush raised a supremely awkward question for Democrats: which party really cares about the poor?...

Democrats like to portray Mr. Bush as King George or Marie Antoinette. But on Thursday night, when he promised to improve benefits for the poor while limiting them for everyone else, he sounded more like Robin Hood, especially when he rhapsodized about poor people getting a chance to build up assets that they could pass along to their children.

It was the kind of talk you might expect to hear from a Democrat, except that Democrats don't talk about much these days except the glories of the New Deal.

Mr. Tierney aren't you forgetting something? That other way Democrats like to portray Bush? "He sounded more like Robin Hood"? Why not say he sounded more like Jesus? It seems to me Democrats also love to say that Bush is too much of a deep-believing Christian, but the usual charge slips out of their heads altogether when Christian belief points toward doing things they approve of:
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."


Kenny H. said...

George W. Bush sounds like Jesus? He may consider himself a Christian, but I think a Christian would work to help the poor. Instead, W gives tax cuts to the rich, reduces regulation of polluters, cuts federal housing subsidies, relaxes regulation of mercury in the atmosphere, cuts health programs for the poor, proposes cuts in Medicare payments, cuts in veterans' health care, cuts spending on education, and on and on.

I am not well-versed in the Bible, but from my Catholic school days I don't remember Jesus preaching the virtues of taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. Bush' latest social security plan is not a gift to the poor, except their benefits are not reduced from what's currently promised. Under privatization, Wall Street stands to earn $940 billion in fees over the next 75 years ... a boon to the poor, downtrodden investment industry, which gave out $15.9 billion in bonuses last year.

Ann Althouse said...

Kenny, my point is that Tierney's piece conveniently forgets about Jesus and brings up Robin Hood. I'm tweaking Bush's critics here, but of course you can criticize Bush too for whatever you want.

EddieP said...

Professor, as the Aussies say "good on ya" for tweaking both kennyh. and Tierney.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Eddie.

Ron said...


Your post is intrigues me because it makes me wonder what traits we see in Bush as Christian for both good and ill. Kenny H., maybe correct in his observations, but I wonder how Bush himself sees his own motivations.