Writing in American Politix http://www.americanpolitix.com/, James Haywood declares compassionate conservatism to be one of the casualities of Katrina. Haywood writes "Republicans love to tell people that they care about average Americans, not just the rich ones. Sadly, no one's buying it. And this week, too many Republicans showed their true colors." One example cited by Haywood is Barbara Bush's comment that the evacuees were poor and now better off huddled inside the Houston Astrodome. Another is Republican National Chairman Ken Melhman's declaration, post-Katrina, that the GOP's number priority is more tax cuts for the well to do.
In a web exclusive for the Online edition of American Prospect http://www.prospect.org/, Matthew Yglesias also calls the compassionate conservatism of the GOP into question. "Spending has gone up -- way up -- nearly across the board even while tax cuts have been lavished on the wealthy. Less noted is that one very small portion of the federal government's activities really has been curtailed: the spending of money on efforts to help poor people."
Yglesias continues, "It started with housing assistance, primarily a concern in big cities from which virtually no Republican legislators hail. Next on the chopping block was heating assistance, vital in the northern parts of the country but easily neglected by the GOP's Sun Belt leadership. Then came food stamps, cut as part of perhaps the cruelest of many farces initiated by 21st-century conservatism."
I am unconvinced that compassionate conservatism ever existed within the Republican Party. The original and real compassionate conservatives are Democrats who have supported socially conservative positions such as a pro-life stance while favoring activist government and a safety net for the less fortunate. As long as the GOP remains in the grip of the big business interests, it is unlikely that there will be anything compassionate about Republican economic policies.