This New Yorker profile of Michael Gerson is worth reading, since it offers some clues to the role of compassion in Bush’s and Gerson’s thinking. I don’t know whether it’s the writer or Gerson, but, while Gerson is characterized as not believing that compassion always requires government programs, most of the examples of compassion cited are government programs with price tags. I think that the latter equation, in its simplest from, is an easy one into which to fall, but there’s more to it than that.
Update: Peggy Noonan asks, in her characteristically elegant way, whether compassionate conservatism is an oxymoron. For me, the question is, as I stated earlier, whether the spending is transitional. If the goal is independence and personal responsibility, and the goal is achieved, then the spending is defensible. If were on our way to a new and different culture of dependency, then the increasingly popular equation GWB=LBJ makes sense.