By Will Straw
On a recent trip to America, Iain Duncan Smith made a speech about “compassionate conservatism” and social policy while finding time to praise some of the least compassionate proponents of social policy in the United States.
Speaking at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, Duncan Smith said, “As American conservatives go forward, you have many causes for encouragement: the strength of think tanks like Heritage and the American Enterprise Institute, the quality of new-generation conservatives like Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Mark Sanford, and Tim Pawlenty.”
Meanwhile, scholars at the AEI have attacked President Obama’s decision to slash the defense budget including capping production of F-22 planes which have been unused in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As for the “new-generation conservatives”:
• In an attempt to woe the hard right of his party in the race for the 2012 nomination, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has rejected over 100 million dollars in stimulus funds which would have enhanced unemployment benefits and healthcare for the poor and uninsured.
• Representative Paul Ryan has described a recent Republican Party tax plan to cut taxes on the richest one percent of Americans by 75,000 dollars and raise taxes on over a third of taxpayers mostly low- and middle-income families as “progressive.”
• South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, also seen as 2012 nominee, has rejected 700 million dollars in stimulus funds intended to improve public schools and public safety despite unemployment reaching 11% in the state (second only to California).
• And last summer, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a front runner to be John McCain’s running mate, promised corporate CEOs contact with influential government officials including McCain if he became President.
So much for David Cameron’s suggestion that “conservative means are the best way to achieve progressive ends.”