AIDS FUNDING….Here’s a minor little example of why it’s so important to understand motivation in politics:

A new law signed by Bush in May created the global AIDS initiative and pledged $3 billion a year for five years, a total of $15 billion. Now Bush and top Republicans say $2 billion will suffice in the next fiscal year, with more to come later.

….Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee, defended the House approach, saying Congress and the administration would raise spending totals in coming years to meet the $15-billion goal.

Kolbe, a leading Republican advocate of AIDS relief, said the administration wouldn’t be able to spend effectively any more than $2 billion in the first year.

“I just don’t think it’s realistic to assume we will spend that much more in this first year,” Kolbe said. “Let’s do it and do it right.”

What to think? If you believe that Bush is sincere, this makes perfect sense. Maybe we really can’t ramp up spending that fast without wasting a lot of it.

But if he’s not, then it’s just a cynical effort to get public credit for being compassionate without having to follow through on it.

Which is it?