In case you missed it, the word out today is that John DiIulio, Bush’s faith-based services czar, is resigning his post. Frankly, this was inevitable, as we noted in these very pages back in March. In fact, let’s reprint what we said back on March 22nd about the impossibility of DiIulio’s position in the Bush White House.
Here’s the key issue with DiIulio, however. There’s something deeper at work here than just a disagreement over how faith-based services should function, even deeper than the obvious fissures over racial politics.
The whole debate over social services, poverty, welfare and so forth moves on two separate axes. One is the right vs. left axis that we’re all familiar with. But this is often the less interesting of the two.
There’s also the ‘give a #$%&’ vs. the ‘don’t give a @#&$’ axis.
I disagree with DiIulio on all sorts of points. But anyone who’s familiar with DiIulio’s career knows that he’s definitely in the ‘give a $%&#’ (GAF) category. I would say that someone like James Q. Wilson is also in the GAF category even though I disagree with him on many points.
And that’s the problem. What the Bush folks should have realized is that if you’re in the DGAF category (which the Bushies indubitably are on urban poverty and social disenfranchisement issues) the last thing you want to do is to hire a GAF to run your shop.
Bad, bad, bad decision. And now they’re going to pay the price for that mistake with really embarrassing stories which will almost certainly lead to DiIlulio’s eventually getting canned.
Some of the actual details of how it all shook out are in Dana Milbank’s afternoon piece in the Post. But this was in the cards from day one.