It may have taken awhile, but thanks to Patrick Courrielche’s exposé at, of all places, Big Hollywood, conservatives are positively fuming over the Bush Administration‘s decision to funnel $2.2 billion through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives into programs that specifically support the President’s ideological and policy commitments, like the Abstinence Education Program, designed to “enable states to provide abstinence education and mentoring, counseling, and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity.”
Conservatives are rightly upset with a speech Bush delivered at the 2004 White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, in which he said “[i]t’s hard to be a faith-based program if you can’t practice faith [and] the message to you is, we’re changing the culture here in America.”
“It’s hard to read his comments as anything but a call for groups to engage in a partisan campaign on behalf of the Bush Administration’s policy agenda,” argued John Hinderaker. Nick Gillespie agreed, saying that “[i]f you’ve ever wondered—and worried—about where government support of the arts leads, look no further than the full transcript of an August 10, 2009 telecon[ference call] between an official at the National Endowment for the Arts and a group of ‘independent artists from around the country.'”
Wait wait wait—I thought conservatives were upset because the White House created an office, installed it five federal agencies, then used them to fund a clearly partisan policy agenda to the tune of $2.2 billion. You mean to tell me all those links are about an August 10th conference call that tried to wrangle up support for the current President’s National Day of Service—a call in which not one cent of the NEA’s $155 million budget was dispensed or even offered?
All the outrage centers around a conference call designed, in the words soon-to-be-becked* Yosi Sergant, “to raise the visibility” for a program whose purpose is to encourage “all Americans and others throughout the world to voluntarily perform at least one good deed or another service activity on the anniversary of 9/11 each year, and on other days marked by terrorist events.” The problem, it seems, is that the NEA is supposed to be above partisanship, and supporting the President’s United We Serve initiative is seen by conservatives to be a partisan issue. Here are some of its highly partisan goals:
We want to make Americans’ lives better by asking everybody to participate in shaping the life of their community and make the quality of life better.
Clearly, “making Americans’ lives better” is a partisan issue. Which would be acceptable, were the administration not being so heavy-handed:
[H]ow do we move the people who look to each of you for guidance to get involved? We have to leave that to you because nobody else knows how to do it better than you do[.]
Clearly, dictating that individual organizations ought to do what they think is appropriate in a manner of their own choosing is but one step from installing Obama as Dictator for Life. Which is what they will do, because these are doggedly partisan projects:
I hearken back to an example that happened right before election day during the campaign when a bunch of DJs got together and put on a conference call for all the top radio and club DJs around the country who got onto a telephone call and encouraged everyone to make DJ mixes using songs that would encourage people to get out and vote.
And when these hip-hop-listening kids went out and voted for whomever they so desired, who did they vote for? The Dictator for Life, who now wants them to
to go out and donate blood or adopt an alley way or identify some walls in [their] neighborhood that have been stricken with graffiti that need a mural.
According to conservatives, encouraging artists to encourage kids to donate blood is now a partisan activity because it falls under the heading of “service,” and “service” is communism; “service” is socialism; “service” is Marxism; “service” is fascism.
So now, for conservatives, “service” is partisan.
That’s the root of all this outrage—that the NEA would listen in on a conference call designed to spread the word about the National Day of Service. For more on this and other trivial items that are suddenly important after eight years of whistling while actual civil liberties were being non-hypothetically violated on a regular basis, watch the Glenn Beck Show tonight on FOXNews.
*beck v. trans. beck-ing, beck-ed, to be baselessly attacked by an idiot with a megaphone, then have those accusations alter your life for the worse because it’s politically expedient for your spineless superiors to demote or fire you
Alternatively (and to maintain my honor):
beck, v. trans. beck-ing, beck-ed, to baselessly attack an innocuous public official, then have those accusations alter that official’s life for the worse because it’s politically expedient for their superiors to demote or fire them, esp. when done by idiots with megaphones. Also intr.