President Bush, in a rousing speech to fellow conservatives, exhorted his ideological cohorts to “fight for victory and keep the White House in 2008.”
This statement implies that we have a conservative there now… I don’t think so.
Consider Bartlett’s review of Bush’s major domestic legislative accomplishments. He teamed up with Ted Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, which increased education spending by over $20 billion and legislated a massive new federal intrusion into local schools. He co-opted Joe Lieberman’s proposal to create a gigantic new federal bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security. He has mostly abandoned free trade in favor of a hodgepodge of interest-group-pleasing tariffs. And after initially opposing it, Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley bill with almost pathetic eagerness in the wake of the Enron debacle, putting in place a phonebook-sized stack of new business regulations.
Want more? He signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, a bête noir of conservatives for years. His Medicare prescription-drug bill was the biggest new entitlement program since the Great Society. He initially put a hold on a wide range of last-minute executive orders from the Clinton administration, but after a few months of “study” allowed nearly all of them to stand. And he has increased domestic discretionary spending at a higher rate than any president since LBJ.
Bartlett even has a bone to pick with the most prominent feature of Bush’s record that’s incontestably conservative, his almost religious dedication to tax cuts. Yes, Bush has cut taxes. Yes, that’s generally a good, conservative thing to do. But as Bartlett correctly points out, cutting taxes without cutting spending doesn’t do the conservative cause any good. Bush and the modern Republican Party plainly have no interest in cutting federal spending, and the resulting massive deficits will eventually force “the largest tax increase in American history”–one that will be entirely Bush’s fault. Some conservative.
Now, I’m a conservative by nature. Ask my (liberal) friends [[:-)]]. But, now that there’s no conservative left in the race for president (was there ever one?), it’s time for the most liberal choice to get my vote. Why? Well, if the country wants liberal, it should get REALLY liberal. If he or she succeeds and the country is better off, then why shouldn’t we go in that direction. And, if he or she fails miserably, maybe the country will be ready for a real conservative again (hint: we haven’t really had one in a long time).