Mayberry Machiavelli redux
by Erin Alecto
In a fascinating article in this week’s Nation magazine, Michael Reynolds examines the lucrative business of abstinence-only, faith-based initiatives, and the various groups that have benefited from the Bush administration’s commitment to courting the religious vote for the Republicans. Who knew that abstinence-only was a “business” in the first place?
Following the money swirling around [welfare privatizer and Republican donor named Raymond] Ruddy offers an eye-opening glimpse into the squalor at the heart of the abstinence-only project. One top Bush adviser left to take a job at Ruddy's charity, Gerard Health Foundation, and a senior officer at Ruddy's for-profit company, Maximus, left to take a top-level position at the Department of Health and Human Services. Leaders of Christian-right organizations that are Gerard grantees have gained advisory HHS positions--and their organizations have in turn received AIDS and abstinence grants to the tune of at least $25 million. Maximus itself has raked in more than $100 million in federal contracts during the Bush era.
Amazing, isn’t it? Reynolds follows the money as it twists and turns through HHS, front foundations, and think tanks, limning the seedy world of “family values” and those who promote them. Several of the appointees to positions in the administration later had to resign in disgrace for corruption, but were seamlessly absorbed back into the system. Those who have spoken out against the administration’s approach, like John DiIulio of “Mayberry Machiavelli” fame, are jettisoned like so much garbage.
The author hints that Henry Waxman is considering hearings on these people and their programs. After reading this article, I’ve written to encourage him to do so, and urge others read the whole thing and to join in.