An illuminating blast from the past:
…And he really did listen, more than Presidents often do. He also asked questions. One sounded lofty, yet it resonated with those of us seated around the room: “How do I speak to the soul of America?” My answer to that was simple: Focus on the children. Their plight is our shame, I told him, and their promise is our future. Reach them and you reach our soul. Bush nodded in agreement. The conversation was rich and deep for more than an hour and a half.
When the discussion officially ended, Bush moved around the room, talking with us individually or in small groups for another hour. I could see that his staff was anxious to whisk him away (Cabinet appointments were being made that week and there were key departments yet to fill). Yet he lingered and continued to ask questions. At one point, he turned to me and said, with what I could only read as complete sincerity, “Jim, I don’t understand poor people. I’ve never lived with poor people or been around poor people much. I don’t understand what they think and feel about a lot of things. I’m just a white Republican guy who doesn’t get it. How do I get it?”
I still recall the intense and earnest look on his face as he stared right into my eyes and asked his question. It was a moment of humility and candor that, frankly, we don’t often see with Presidents….
News flash, Pastor Wallis. President Short Attention Span needs constant ego-feeding in order to maintain interest in your cause and, clearly, any lack of attention to the issues of the poor is because you didn’t stroke his ego frequently enough. Here’s the thing: he’s a politician, not a saint, and one who isn’t exactly Mr. Attention To Detail And Honesty at that. Case in point (via Froomkin):
…Bush first tried a lighthearted approach to disarm Woodings. But when she continued to press, he confessed ignorance: “[L]ook, I don’t know the program. Maybe I shouldn’t make this admission, maybe I should try to bull my way through. I don’t know the program; I’m sorry. I’ll be glad to look into it. But just from a philosophical perspective, one of the wonderful things about the country is when there’s a need, the average citizen steps up and helps fill the need through private charity.”
I spoke to Woodings this morning, who told me: “I was surprised that he didn’t know of the program, considering he’s been attempting to eliminate it.”…
When it comes to helping others out of the goodness of his heart, including poor children who can’t help themselves otherwise? He’s just not that into you.
Make your calls on SCHIP. Please. Especially to these folks. Because this President needs to learn the meaning of the word “repudiation.” And the at risk kids deserve some real compassion for a change instead of the phony public show with backstage veto hustle they just got.
Get on the phone to your member in the House — and to your Senators. And do remember to call local offices, they are often much more receptive than the beltway crowd. Tell them to choose their constituents and the needs of children over George Bush’s “emergency room health care” plan. Shameful doesn’t begin to describe this.
Here are some toll free numbers to the Capitol switchboard that katymine found that can help with your calls:
1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437
These members in particular need a big nudge:
Jim Marshall (D-GA)–Washington, D.C. Office (202)225-6531; Macon, GA Office 1-877-464-0255; Tifton, GA Office (229)556-7418.
Baron Hill (D-IN)–Washington, D.C. Office (202)225-5315; Jeffersonville, IN Office (812)288-3999; Bloomington, IN Office (812)336-3000.
Gene Taylor (D-MS)–Washington, D.C. Office (202)225-5772; Bay St. Louis, MS Office (228)469-9235; Gulfport, MS Office (228)864-7670; Ocean Springs, MS Office (228)872-7950; Hattiesburg, MS Office (601)582-3246; Laurel, MS Office (601)425-3905.
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)–Washington, D.C. Office (202)225-4531; Raleigh, NC Office (919)829-9122 or 1-888-262-6202; Lillington, NC Office (910)814-0335 or 1-866-384-3743.
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)–Washington, D.C. Office (202)225-2731; Lumberton, NC Office (910)735-0610; Fayetteville, NC Office (910)323-0260; Wilmington, NC Office (910)815-4959; Bolivia, NC Office (910)253-0158.
(Gorgeous shot via Shavar. Evokes a lot of thought in a single snapshot, doesn’t it?)