Tuesday, October 12, 2004

civil rights & bush

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report (draft Sept 2004), "Redefining Rights in America: The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration, 2001–2004", is out. Here's the summary:

Several themes emerge from this study. Specifically, this examination will show that the administration’s statements frequently do not match its actions. Its civil rights promises often suffer for lack of funding and ineffective implementation. To his credit, President Bush has not dismantled some good programs that previous administrations had implemented. However, he has also not comprehensively advanced them or demanded accountability for their outcomes. And finally, through the views of his executive and judicial appointments and his own professed priorities, President Bush redefines civil rights, at times by promoting unrelated initiatives under a civil rights banner.
Here's another telling passage:

The Commission thus identified as a key indicator of the administration’s commitment its willingness to develop a strategy in collaboration with civil rights leaders and representatives from affected communities. Rarely during his first three years in office did President Bush speak at meetings of civil rights organizations.19 As a candidate in 2000, President Bush gave a speech at the NAACP’s national convention, but during his first three years in office, did not attend the group’s meetings or call its leaders to the White House to confer with him. Nor has he engaged the NAACP in policy conversations, breaking a tradition that began under President Warren G. Harding and had been carried on by 11 consecutive Presidents beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt and ending with Clinton.
(emphasis added)