I couldn't help but notice your use of "compassionate conservatism" again, Dave. Can I bring up an example of Democratic "compassion" towards people in financial trouble that is finally getting attention in Georgia. It's called a "title loan", and is a Georgia invention which has spread elsewhere (unfortunately rapidly) in the country.
Basically, it's a new thing which allows people to get a cash loan on their car title - in effect getting a pawn loan it. The borrower must give the lender a copy of the key to the car and if the borrower is so much as one day late on any monthly payment, the lender has the right to take the car with a repro company and sell it. But in the state of Georgia, it's truly the "loan from hell". First, the state laws allow a 300% interest rate. That's right, borrow $1,000 and in 30 days when the 1st payment is due you owe them $1,250. But a great many people are only able to pay just the monthly interest. The punchline in Georgia is that if the borrower defaults and the car is seized the lender keeps 100% of what he sells the car for, leaving the poor borrower with nothing.
How did laws allowing such a victimization of people in financial trouble come to be? Easy, the guy who came up with the title loan idea in the first place went to a friend in his town who was in state government to get it passed. Of course, this friend was in a position to guarantee that the bill allowing this would come to the floor of the state legislature. The help was given by state Representative (Georgia House of Representatives) Tom Murphy, who was and had been for decades, Speaker of the House (State government). Murphy had the power to put that bill on the floor, as he controlled which bills did or did not reach the floor. Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature from the 1800's until the last election, so getting a Democratic sponsored bill passed was no problem. Well, until recently, as Murphy lost his seat (and therefore the power of the Speaker of the House) in 2002 and the Democratic party just lost control of the House, Senate and Office of Governor in the recent elections.
Finally, this scandalous situation has come to light in the press, including a week-long in depth series in the Atlanta newspaper. It looks like the legislature is going to put a stop to this example of Democratic legislative "compassion" towards people in financial trouble.
Well, Dave, if you can gripe about what you call compassionate conservatism, can't I relate an example of Democratic "compassion"? Hey, Dave, remember posts in threads where I related how The Democrats killed Republican attempts at legislation in the state of Georgia? Remember? The Speaker of the House directed a bill he wanted to kill to the wrong comittee in the required first step. When it finally went back to him as "wrong committee" on the daily opening proceedures of the legislature he just mis-directed it again, and again until the year's session finally ended and the consideration of the bill died. Guess who explained that trick to me. Murphy himself, He taught me a lot of things about how the state's legislature worked in conversations and watching it in action while covering the state's legislature for television.
Sidebar: I understand that the actor who played Ray Charles in the recent movie is going to film a recreation of the time when Ray's song became the state song of Georgia and he played it before the assembled House in session. Guess who did the audio for the TV taping of that event and therefore worked with Ray Charles setting up the audio recording before the House assembled. Something happened in the setup and I refrained from telling the story when Ray died (some might have taken it the wrong way), but I'm tempted to relate it to the people doing the recreation, as Ray instantly defused a "nasty situation" into a happy time with an off the cuff joke. I liked Ray before but after that he was one of my favorite people. I'm working myself up to finaly relating the story, but I'm not fully ready yet I guess, I'm conerned that the people doing the recreation might not appreciate my telling the story.