Having spent four years doing nothing to make their lot better, he suddenly revealed a full knowledge of black inequality. Which means he has spent four years being aware that African-Americans die before their time and, with the entire power of the American government arrayed before him, consciously chose to do nothing about it. And he has decided, finally, to publicly acknowledge it not in order to rectify the injustice, but to push an unrelated policy that'll help -- guess who? -- rich white folks.
That's exactly right. Put more crudely, Bush made a tactical error in acknowledging the fact that African-Americans live shorter lives, because it's not hard to figure out why they live shorter lives. They're more likely to be uninsured, they're less likely to receive preventative care, they're disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, they're disproportionately poor. Bush tends not to talk about this stuff (even though he talks about how his tax cuts benefit African-American small businesses), but with his statement about the shorter longevity of African-Americans, he's tacitly acknowledging that he knows it.
Now, we all know that he knows why African-Americans tend to live shorter lives, and we know he's not supposed to talk about it. But by acknowledging he stuff that we know he knows but doesn't talk about, a whole series of questions are raised. Why, if he knows about all of this injustice, hasn't he done anything about it? Isn't he supposed to be a compassionate conservative? Isn't ignoring this injustice not just negligent but downright immoral? Doesn't using this injustice for political gain descend to the level of the truly despicable?
Which is all to say, it's hard to buy the conventional line on Bush -- 'he's not the brightest star in the universe, but, golly, he's a good guy' -- if we know that he has known the plight of 12-13% of US citizens and has been ignoring it. Rather trying to fix an inherent inequality in American society, he's exploiting it.
I mention this because this is something you should remember next time you see Bush on TV, and he's saying something really stupid, and you're inclined to feel sorry for him because he's such a bumbling idiot. Save your pity for someone who's worthy of it.
Moral blah. Culture of blah blah. Freedom is blah blah blah.