It's been said that a dog is man's best friend, but don't try to sell
that argument to Neil Bush. The odd Bangkok prostitute aside, no one's taken
better care of Neil than his dear old mom.
Neil's run over more than his share of road bumps as he's made his
way down life's highway, including his involvement in the Silverado Savings
and Loan scam that cost the taxpayer of this country an estimated $1 billion,
a few other shady dealings and a messy divorce. But through it all, Mama Bush
has stood by sonny boy, just as she has his older, disaster-prone brother.
Bar's most recent manifestation of mother love came in the form of a "charitable"
donation to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, a donation with more strings attached
to it than the ones connecting Number One son to Dick Cheney.
The gift, described in news accounts as "at least $30,000," was to
the Bush-Clinton Huston Hurricane Relief Fund. So far so good. But with a stipulation:
That the money be used to buy educational software from a company called Ignite
Learning of Austin, Texas.
And who owns Ignite Learning? Brenda?
Bar's donation not only helps children displaced by the flood waters that ravaged
New Orleans, but it helps Neil and it is tax deductible. Truly a gift that keeps
Eight schools in the Houston City School District have reportedly benefited
from Bar's gift so far. And the district is no stranger to Ignite Learning.
Two years ago, according to the Associated Press, the Houston school district
"wrestled with conflict of interest concerns over the Ignite program."
It appears that Neil, in a fit of generosity had helped raise $115,000 for
the district's philanthropic fund. And how was he to know that the donors he
hit up would insist that the money would be spent on what? Let's not see the
same hands now. Yes, Martin.
"Ignite Learning software?"
Good for you, Martin.
Neil won that wrestling match and the school board bought the Ignite software.
This is not meant to imply that everything the Bushes do has a price tag on
it. Keep in mind that our beloved president is the self-anointed high priest
of compassionate conservatism, as evidenced by his compassionate tax breaks
for the richest conservatives among us and his equally compassionate Medicare
drug plan to help the neediest insurance and pharmaceutical companies. And who's
to say he didn't get that compassion gene from dear old Mom?
After all, who can forget her heartfelt embrace of orphans of the storm huddled
in the Houston Astrodome last August after Katrina ravaged New Orleans. And
"They were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
That impassioned cry from the heart vaulted Bar into an early lead for the
annual Lady Bountiful Award sponsored jointly by the Wall Street Journal editorial
board and the Heritage Foundation.
The award is in the form of a platinum statuette of Marie Antoinette engraved
with the words: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche," which she probably
didn't utter but got blamed for anyway by the liberal French media jackals.
David Rossie is associate editor; his column is published
on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. firstname.lastname@example.org