By David Halbrook. Pictures by Art Cox
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Marvin Olasky (L) interviews Representative Trent Franks in the Barbara Hodel Center Coffeehouse at PHC
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint
In his Monday lunch-time interview with Senator DeMint, Dr. Olasky touched on the rise of the Tea Party and the GOP firestorm that erupted over President Obama’s health care legislation. Echoing conservative complaints about “Obamacare’s” so-called move toward socialism, he asked the Senator why, when the GOP had a congressional majority, Republicans didn’t address the health care crisis with more plausible reform.
“In Congress the easiest thing to do is to get earmarks and bring home the bacon and get a good press release,” said DeMint. “But the actual work of developing legislation, getting all of the actuaries to help work it out and get co-sponsors, well, I found that my own party was not nearly as anxious as I’d hoped to sign up for health reform. The fact that we didn’t do anything led government to do too much.
“There have been a lot of proposals,” he added, “and our goal was for every American to have access to a health plan they can afford, own and keep. There were a lot of things we could’ve done that wouldn’t cost taxpayer money, making those plans more available, more affordable and more competitive. But we just didn’t push it.”
Monday's interview with Senator Jim DeMint draws a crowd to the Coffeehouse
“We have tried to transplant our (free market, individualistic society) in countries that do not have the same beliefs… with varying degrees of success,” he said. “Now I see where we are as a nation, and the debt we have and the fact that we’re borrowing 42-cents on every dollar we spend in Washington, and I realize we need to do things different internationally. I think the best thing we can do for the world and the cause of freedom is to be that city on a hill, to give what support we can to aid and private charities and missionary work, but to be strong at home, able to defend ourselves, to get our fiscal house in order and be the economic model for the world.”
Jay Hein – President of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research
Tuesday’s session featured Jay Hein, president of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research and former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Given that both Dr. Olasky and Hein were heavily involved in the President Bush’s “compassion agenda” -- Dr. Olasky through his writings and, as a presidential advisor, the acknowledged “leading thinker of compassionate conservatism” -- the two had a lively discussion about what went wrong when government tried to come alongside the faith-based service community.
Observed Hein: “In July, 1999 the president made a powerful speech, the Duty of Hope, imparting a powerful vision for society, declaring that society’s biggest problems are unacceptable, and that we should lean into them (problems), looking first to the actors who are private and (faith-based) . But… and this is challenge for conservatives who pursue office, you can speak culturally that America is not government, as the founders intended, but once you’re in office you, in fact, run the government. This is the transition point where the initiative stumbled, when other questions take over about how to do the grant making and policy making, which minimizes the narrative.
“I want to state very clearly,” he added, “that the idea was the right one. The last two years I served in the Bush presidency, I traveled the country and can’t tell you how many inner city, faith-based leaders asked me to thank the president on their behalf. Before this initiative, they said, ‘I was either ignored or discriminated against, but now I’m seen as a first responder. So, if there’s a crisis, they call me and see that I have positive value.’ I’ve stood by priest and rabbi who heard the president say, ‘When you serve a neighbor in need, you serve the country,’ and they wanted to thank him for that. President Bush offered profound presidential leadership on that point.”
The WORLD Week interviews continued Tuesday evening with Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, a faithful and outspoken champion for life and family values in both Arizona and the U.S. House of Representatives. Wednesday saw Christian author Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, come to campus to speak with Dr. Olasky, describing her trials and victories, tears and joys, raising, discipling, and homeschooling a family of six children.
Check back for updates and excerpts from these interviews and more, as well as news on links to video postings.