Friday, March 17, 2006

The Bush Photo Op Curse

There is a long history (joke? horrible consequence?) that when Bush publicly praises a group, has a photo op with them to make himself look's the death knell for any program related to the photo op.

Did he praise veterans? Cut the VA medical budget! Did he get his photo taken with top teachers? Funding dries up. And so on. The correlation is quite striking.

So, last week, Bush had a lovely photo op with the autistic kid who scored three baskets in a high-school basketball game. He made some inane comments about how it was wonderful, would he play more games, didn't let his problems slow him down.

Well, the Curse of the Photo Op struck again.

- In his proposed budget for next year, Bush has cut all funding for the National Children’s Study, a project that planned to investigate the causes of autism, asthma, and other serious illnesses.

- The President’s budget will eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for schoolchildren with disabilities, denying them “access to medical services they need to fully participate in school and learn to their greatest abilities.”

- The number of children diagnosed with autism and served by schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) increased by more than 500 percent in the last decade, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The President’s FY07 budget, however, will fund IDEA at $6.3 billion below the amount Congress recommended.

It's the MO for Bush to provide a positive photo op that gets all the coverage, then quietly undermine the project, which doesn't get mentioned in the media. Apparently it's ok to say that you're doing something That makes you a good guy. That means you are, right? Never mind that you never put your money where your mouth is. Hypocracy, at it's best.

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