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Not Your Father's Republican Party (Is the GOP still the conservative party?)
Claremont Institute ^ | November 14, 2005 | Adam Wolfson

Posted on 11/21/2005 7:20:45 PM PST by Frank T

Until recently it was widely assumed that the Republican Party is America's conservative party. But increasingly it has been argued that the Republican Party is anything but a conservative party. The issue first gained traction in the mid 1990s, before George W. Bush's inauguration. The self-described Oakeshottian conservative Andrew Sullivan complained in a 1998 New York Times Magazine essay that the Republican Party's regnant governing philosophy had "lost sight of the principles of privacy and restraint, modesty and constitutionalism, which used to be its hallmarks." And not long after, the Weekly Standard's Christopher Caldwell argued in the Atlantic that Republicans were at once too conservative in their moral agenda and too liberal in their new-found love of Big Government. He concluded that the party stood for nothing and had become "obsolescent."

This general line of criticism has only sharpened in the two terms of the Bush presidency. George F. Will has asserted that the party is in the midst of an "identity crisis" and is on the verge of becoming "incoherent," while David Brooks has argued that having lost its compass the Republican Party is in need of a "revival" and a new "governing philosophy." Returning to his old subject, Sullivan recently accused the Republican Party of turning its back on a true conservatism for a Taliban-like mélange of political extremism and religious zealotry.

These critics are right about one thing: Today's Republican Party is not, as the saying goes, your father's Republican Party. No party that wages a global campaign on behalf of democracy, that vastly increases the size and powers of the federal government, and that seeks national standards for schools, families, and individuals can credibly claim the mantle of conservatism simply. But the critics are wrong to argue that the party is either politically aimless or ideologically incoherent—or even, in Sullivan's telling, somehow un-American. Over the last forty years, dating back to Goldwater's 1964 run for the presidency, the party has indeed undergone an ideological and political transformation, a transformation that has at once redefined American conservatism as well as fueled the party's rise to national predominance.

The Grand Old Party

At its founding, the Republican Party was hardly a conservative party in the typical sense. Abraham Lincoln led a party that smashed the institution of slavery, waged all-out war, suspended and amended parts of the U.S. Constitution, launched a hugely ambitious social program known as Reconstruction, imposed a short-lived progressive income tax, as well as creating a national banking system, a Department of Agriculture, and a system of land-grant colleges. Here's how Lincoln himself, in his Second Message to Congress, characterized his party's governing philosophy: "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."

Though the party would change over the intervening years, it remained in a general way the party of activist government and progressive causes at least through the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. Even Republican presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover thought of themselves as progressives of sorts ("We are a nation of progressives," Hoover once remarked), while President Dwight Eisenhower liked to call himself a "New Republican." Indeed, the Democratic Party prior to the New Deal, and even in the heyday of the New Deal coalition itself, arguably included among its ranks more identifiably conservative elements than did the Republican Party.

Not until the post-World War II period does the association of the word "conservative" with Republican become prevalent. Around this time a kind of conservatism begins to emerge in the intellectual world, led by such figures as William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Frank Meyer, among many others. Using a mix of libertarian, traditionalist, and anti-Communist ingredients, these writers sought to remake a Republican Party that was by then ideologically moribund. To simplify quite a bit, these intellectuals aimed at forging a new party that would be guided by the traditionalism of Edmund Burke and the libertarianism of F.A. Hayek. Their creation was to be the party of limited government and free markets, of federalism and local control, the party that puts its faith in the individual, not "the Organization" or Big Government. It was to be the party of little platoons, self-made men, and risk-taking entrepreneurs.

Few would have predicted, however, that this "New Conservatism," as it came to be known, would eventually meld with the Republican Party. Among the founding generation of conservative thinkers and activists, some contemplated the founding of a third, genuinely conservative party to compete with both the Democrats and the Republicans. William Rusher, the former publisher of National Review and a longtime associate of Buckley, favored such a plan for a time. But with the success of the draft-Goldwater movement in 1964, and especially with the emergence of Ronald Reagan as a national figure, the conservative movement became a Republican movement.

The "New Conservatism"

But conservatism's first wave, which culminated in Barry Goldwater's nomination in 1964, bears little resemblance to the kind of conservatism that is now ascendant in the party. I'll mention two crucial differences. To begin with, first-wave conservatives fervently opposed Big Government, which they considered not merely economically inefficient but morally corrupting as well. They believed that Big Government would eventually slide into socialist and totalitarian rule. This was Hayek's "road to serfdom," made all the more ominous by the foreign threat of the Soviet Union. One might almost say that early conservatives made a theology out of their opposition to Big Government.

A second distinguishing feature of early conservatism was its traditionalism. Many of conservatism's early thinkers were genuinely anti-modern in their outlook. Depending upon the individual writer, they tended to enshrine at the center of their program Anglo-American peoplehood, or the Southern "way of life," or the God-centered universe of the Middle Ages. They tended to believe in social hierarchy and social order, and tended to attack the American Founding for its Enlightenment and egalitarian elements.

There was also a romanticism about the early conservative movement which can be seen in Barry Goldwater's famous '64 acceptance address. This address is today most recalled for his line that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," but the real themes of the address, repeated over and over again, were diversity, creativity, and individuality. "We [Republicans] cherish diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, [diversity] of motives and accomplishments," Goldwater declared. "We seek inventiveness, diversity, and creative difference," he pronounced, and then for good measure he concluded, "Balance, diversity, creative difference -- these are the elements of Republican equation."

In his repeated appeals to "diversity," Goldwater was defending a right of self-determination—of the South against the North and the individual against the "Crowd." This was a conservatism still somewhat fearful of modernity—whether as represented in its nationalizing or its corporatizing tendencies. As a watchword, "diversity" perfectly fit the new conservative movement—a word that is today completely absent from the vocabulary of conservatives.

The Religious Revolt

The guiding passion of today's conservatism is neither anti-Big Government nor a romantic nostalgia for a lost past. In the 1970s, the party embraced the emerging religious and tax reform movements, and it has not been the same since.

Religious conservatives trace their roots back to the great evangelical revival of the last forty or fifty years, and contrary to general impression, America's evangelical movements have rarely been anti-modern in their orientation. They are not home-grown versions of the Taliban. In the 19th century, evangelicals tended to be allied with the forces of progressivism and modern science, and similarly today, they do not easily fit within more traditionalist modes of political thought. They are democratic-populist, entrepreneurial, reformist, generally forward-looking, and perfectly at home in America's technologically driven mass society. One need only mention such phenomena as "Christian rock music," the "televangelist," or the "Mega-church" to illustrate the point.

The story of how this religious movement came to be felt in the nation's politics reminds one of the saying that God moves in mysterious ways. As Duane Oldfield has told it, in his study The Right and the Righteous, the Religious Right's eventual alliance with the Republican Party was almost accidental. To begin with, in the 1964 presidential election, which first-wave conservatives consider foundational, evangelicals spurned the conservative standard-bearer Barry Goldwater in favor of Lyndon Johnson. Throughout the '60s the majority of evangelicals were Democrats, not Republicans, and it was arguably Jimmy Carter who made the first direct appeal to Evangelicals, a majority of whom cast their vote for him that year.

But almost as soon as Carter had won their vote, he pushed the Religious Right into the Republican camp. Carter's support of the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights, and his threat to take away the tax-exempt status of parochial schools outraged religious conservatives, who increasingly began to see themselves as a distinctive political movement. In 1979, Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, and a year later Ronald Reagan won the White House in part by appealing to these religious voters.

From 1976 to 1988 a genuine political realignment took place, as evangelicals and fundamentalists moved, en masse, from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Not only were they voting Republican, something they had occasionally done in the past, but they were joining Republican ranks in great numbers, and soon a large majority, something in the neighborhood of 60 to 70%, would identify themselves as Republicans. They are today the face of the Republican Party: Conservative Christians made up nearly a third of Bush's total vote in 2004.

Religious conservatives have affected the party in numerous ways, most especially by giving the party a voice in the Culture Wars. But they have done something else as well, not as often commented upon but foreseen by those who followed Republican Party politics closely. In the mid-'70s, at the low ebb in Republican Party fortunes, William Rusher contended in his book The Making of the New Majority Party that only through a coalition with social or religious conservatives could the conservative movement triumph nationally. Yet Rusher also noted that this would necessarily mean accommodating the social conservative's view "that government may at times be a useful weapon for curbing various forms of private rapacity." Religious conservatives are not fundamentalists when it comes to the size and role of government.

The Supply-Side Revolt

Around this time, another revolution was underway, one that would also change how Republicans viewed government. This was supply-side economics—or "Reaganomics." Ronald Reagan learned from supply-siders like Arthur Laffer, George Gilder, and Paul Craig Roberts that taxes matter, and that cutting excessive tax rates will enhance economic growth and even produce more government revenue, not less. And Reagan learned from the popular revolt against state taxes, as embodied in California's Proposition 13, that cutting taxes made for good politics. But Reagan's supply-side views were as strenuously resisted by many Republicans as by Democrats. Even as late as 1979 George H.W. Bush was famously deriding Reagan's proposed fiscal policies as "voodoo economics." When Reagan advanced his Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which sharply cut personal tax rates, many of his closest advisors objected, warning him of the likelihood of ballooning deficits. Reagan reportedly replied, "I don't care."

With this attitude towards the deficit Reagan was breaking sharply from conservative orthodoxy: After all, Goldwater's '64 Republican Party platform had affirmed the importance of "prudent responsible management of the government's fiscal affairs." In justifying his tax cuts, Reagan was reduced to appealing to the precedent of John F. Kennedy. Yet a momentous ideological shift was underway within the Republican Party, a shift nicely captured in James Ring Adams's authoritative book on the subject, Secrets of the Tax Revolt: "The old Republican agenda began with balancing the budget, by tax increases if necessary. The new program concentrated on ending the growth in taxation and subordinated the budget."

Obviously, many traditional conservatives found supply-side economics congenial to their anti-Big Government cause. However, by emphasizing taxes and economic growth, as opposed to balancing the budget, supply-side economics changed the political landscape: Conservatives no longer had to play the Scrooge to liberalism's Santa Clause. Conservatives could now cut taxes, and let liberals worry about balancing the budget. The size of government as such was no longer a conservative fixation. This subtle shift in emphasis became more pronounced with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Communism's demise meant, as Daniel Casse has pointed out in Commentary magazine, that the question of government's size could be seen in less apocalyptic and more pragmatic terms. By the end of the 1990s, opposition to Big Government had simply ceased to be a populist, conservative cause.

Red America

So in retrospect what seemed like the triumph of the "conservative" movement in 1980 and 1984—the movement that generally traces itself back to Goldwater—was in a sense the beginning of the end. The sociologist Robert Nisbet once wrote, "Reagan's passion for crusades, moral and military, is scarcely American—conservative." The very same, only more so, could be said of George W. Bush, who is also a crusader, both at home and abroad.

Bush's emphasis on spreading democracy over the entire planet along with his high-stakes, risk-taking use of American military force abroad are hardly conservative staples. Bush has replaced the older, world-weary conservative emphasis on order and stability (which went by the name of Realism) with a moral, even moralizing impulse. Rather than considering the September 11 attacks in merely strategic terms, the Bush Administration saw the unfolding of a great struggle between good and evil that pitted democracy against tyranny. One gets the sense that George W. Bush, unlike many of America's intellectual sophisticates, whether on the Left or Right, was genuinely shocked and morally repulsed by the terrorists.

On the domestic policy side as well, Bush has acted against conservative-type. Like Ronald Reagan, he sharply cut taxes in his first term and has presided over a growing federal deficit. Unlike Reagan, and even more against conservative-type, Bush tends to see the government not as the problem but as a part of the solution. In his first term, Bush expanded the reach and scope of the Department of Education and added an expensive new government entitlement program with his prescription drug benefit. He midwifed a vast new federal bureaucracy known as the Department of Homeland Security and greatly enhanced the federal government's domestic surveillance powers through the U.S. Patriot Act. He also endorsed new rules for corporate governance, signed a campaign finance reform bill, and has made ambitious plans for the reconstruction of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

While many of conservatism's spokesmen loudly denounced these policies, the president seemed to suffer little in his popularity among conservatives at the grass-roots level, at least for his fiscal policies.

From Social Security to Terry Schiavo

Four issues have thus far dominated Bush's second term—social security reform, the Terry Schiavo affair, the filibuster debate, and now the Harriet Miers nomination. Social Security reform—or something like Bush's private investment accounts—has long been a traditional conservative cause. The fact that President Eisenhower had made his peace with FDR's New Deal, and in particular had no intention of rolling back Social Security, earned him the opprobrium of the editors of the National Review. Goldwater, in contrast, floated the idea of Social Security reform during his '64 presidential campaign. But Social Security reform no longer animates the Republican Party's faithful. When Bush unveiled his plans for an Ownership Society, many religious conservatives balked or stood on the sidelines, and Bush has so far failed to get the party behind him, much less the country as a whole.

Into the midst of this great yawn for the Ownership Society dropped the Terry Schiavo and filibuster bombshells. The party that could barely muster any enthusiasm for a venerable conservative cause like private investment accounts quite suddenly acted with energy and dispatch. At the behest of religious conservatives, the Republican Party sought to prevent the Florida courts from removing Terry Schiavo's feeding tube, and to circumvent the Democratic filibuster of Bush's judicial nominations.

Many conservative pundits were aghast. It seemed to them as though the Republican Party was turning against just about every conservative tenet imaginable: the party's actions were said to be in breach of the principles of federalism and separation of powers, as well as in violation of the principles of local control and state's rights. Republicans, it was charged, had turned their backs on the sanctity of the family, prescription, precedent, and tradition. George F. Will grumbled that the party "seemed to have subcontracted governance to certain especially fervid religious supporters."

Overlooked by Will and others is that these religious supporters are today's Republican Party. They, after all, got Bush elected, and they, not surprisingly, expected the party to reflect their sense of what's most important. The current imbroglio over the Miers nomination—is she a genuine conservative or not?—is a part of this story, one that concerns the judiciary's role in America's Culture Wars. Over the last thirty odd years, liberal judges have attempted to implement an agenda of secularization and expressive individualism upon the American public, an agenda that everyone admits has little hope of success through normal democratic processes. This is a battle that the Republican base at least considers worth fighting. In their view, there is little point in standing merely for formal niceties like federalism and procedural precedent if this means unilateral disarmament on more substantive questions of policy. They reason, in a certain sense, as Lincoln did when he defended the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by asking: "Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?"

The Party of Lincoln?

The Republican Party is more Lincolnian today than at any point in recent memory—and this has already had profound effects not only for the GOP but for the Democratic Party as well.

Today, the Republican Party is America's "nationalist" party, in opposition to an increasingly "provincial" Democratic Party. As Samuel Beer once observed, national and provincial are the fundamental polarities of political party conflict in America, dating back to the debate between Hamilton and Jefferson. Now, there can be little doubt that today's political landscape is buffeted by many cross-currents, but increasingly it does seem to be the case that the Republican Party speaks in the name of universal causes, while the Democrats invoke minority rights or self-interest. The Schiavo case and filibuster debate are only two of the more recent instances of this tendency; other examples might include the two parties' respective positions on such issues as stem-cell research and cloning. The Democrats in each case would leave these questions up to individual scientists or to the several states, while many Republicans lobby for a moral consensus. The Republican Party seeks a national referendum on certain hard questions, while the Democrats have recourse to a vocabulary of privacy, minority rights, diversity, and multiculturalism.

This reverses the relation between the parties from just forty years ago when a provincial Republican Party proclaiming the virtue of diversity faced off against a nationalist and unifying Democratic Party; however, it also represents a return to the parties' respective positions through much of their histories, when a Lincolnian Republican Party of great nationalist crusades opposed a Democratic Party of local interests and minority rights.

The parties have returned to their original positions in another salient respect. Lincoln once described the difference between the Democrats and Republicans of his day as follows: Democrats, he wrote, "hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar." Lincoln, of course, was referring to the slavery debate and the claim of Southern Democrats to hold a property right in their slaves. But in small ways as well as large, Lincoln's characterization also captures something important about the Democrats and Republicans of our own day.

The Democratic Party's mantra in the presidential election of 1992, "It's the economy, stupid," signaled its wish to change the subject away from more cultural concerns. This worked for a time, but today Democrats increasingly suffer in the polls on the moral issues. In one of many attempts to respond to their morality-deficit, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean recently declared, "Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans', is [sic] we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night." Dean's response, however, was just another dodge, since there is not a Republican on the planet who believes children should go to bed hungry at night. On the other hand, there are plenty of Democrats who are for a business in stem cells, notwithstanding the moral hazards, and for business-as-usual with China, notwithstanding its human rights record. And they are for an absolute right to abortion, notwithstanding the moral complexity of taking another human life. Many would apparently side with the big corporations, even if it means, as in the recent Supreme Court decision of Kelo v. New London, trashing the rights of lower-class homeowners. As for the war on terror, it is for many Democrats less a moral cause than a big mistake.

Now, it goes without saying that the Republican Party remains the party of free markets, private property, and business interests. But where the man and the dollar come in conflict, to use Lincoln's terms, today's Republican Party can increasingly be relied upon to side with the former.

On occasion, the Republican Party may be guilty of excessive moralizing—its religious conscience sometimes lacks a civic spirit. The Lincolnian party is without a Lincoln. But who can say with a straight face that Puritanism is on the march in America? Quite the contrary, libertarianism and nonjudgmentalism hold sway in most precincts of the culture. Against this, the Republican Party contends, and that above all else makes it worthy of the conservative name.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 109th; conservatism; gop; gophistory
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There are some problems with this article, such as saying that evangelicals are essentially moral populists who supported the Johnson and Carter presidencies, then subsequently backed the GOP, but on the other hand, the party is back to it's Lincolnian crusading roots. There are some contradictory points, but on the whole, the author raises imporant issues.

If the addition of a moral agenda to the party is needed for electoral success, then conversely, there needs to be checks to ensure that policy doesn't stray too far from its politically conservative consensus. Bush 43 has let this slide to an extreme extent, and we are left to see if there is enough backlash in the party to turn it around, and take the fight to the primaries.

1 posted on 11/21/2005 7:20:48 PM PST by Frank T
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To: Frank T

Nope, the Republicans are more liberal than the Democrats!

2 posted on 11/21/2005 7:21:48 PM PST by xrp (Conservative votes are to Republicans what 90% of black votes are to Democrats (taken for granted))
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To: Frank T

Bookmarking. Do we need to ping South Park Conservatives?

3 posted on 11/21/2005 7:23:01 PM PST by BunnySlippers
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To: Frank T

The dems are socialists and the repubs are dems

4 posted on 11/21/2005 7:24:47 PM PST by skaterboy (Miss my kitty)
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To: xrp
while your post is stupid your tag line 100%.

republicans where great until they got their money grubby little hands on the money.

all we are left with is either tax and spend or borrow and spend.
5 posted on 11/21/2005 7:28:01 PM PST by postaldave (i've given up on being mad in exchange for bitter sarcasm.)
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6 posted on 11/21/2005 7:28:50 PM PST by JTN ("We must win the War on Drugs by 2003." - Dennis Hastert, Feb. 25 1999)
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To: skaterboy
would that make libertarians the new republicans?
7 posted on 11/21/2005 7:28:58 PM PST by postaldave (i've given up on being mad in exchange for bitter sarcasm.)
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To: Frank T

The republicans under George W. Bush remind me of the the John F. Kennedy and the democrats of 40+ years ago.

8 posted on 11/21/2005 7:29:03 PM PST by NapkinUser ("Our troops have become the enemy." -Representative John P. Murtha, modern day Benedict Arnold.)
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To: Frank T
Many people in the local and state GOP are RINOs who can only run as republicans. The constituents are mostly republicans and dems don't stand a chance. In the long run, we get a GOP filled with liberal republicans. They are destroying the party from the inside out.
9 posted on 11/21/2005 7:29:25 PM PST by satchmodog9 ( Seventy million spent on the lefts Christmas present and all they got was a Scooter)
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To: Frank T

Nope, not my father's GOP. His gave us Nixon and Ford and opposed the nomination of Ronald Reagan. Mine is the Party of Reagan, GWB, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, and Bolton.

10 posted on 11/21/2005 7:29:46 PM PST by pissant
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To: frank
But where the man and the dollar come in conflict, to use Lincoln's terms, today's Republican Party can increasingly be relied upon to side with the former.


11 posted on 11/21/2005 7:30:54 PM PST by harrowup (Born perfect and humble about it.)
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To: Frank T

Issues change, parties change. A lot of the issues of old have lost traction. New ones have emerged. Class warfare rhetoric is muted. Cultural battles are amplified. Plus the GOP absorbed Southern whites, while losing a considerable portion of its Yankee base, which became more concerned about the environment, and evangelical influence in the party. The GOP has two wings that are in considerable tension with each other.

12 posted on 11/21/2005 7:31:10 PM PST by Torie
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To: NapkinUser

To paraphrase GK Chesterton "Liberals push for the new generation's errors. Conservatives defend the previous generation's errors.

13 posted on 11/21/2005 7:32:21 PM PST by NeoCaveman (THIRTEENTH!!!!)
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To: Frank T

If we get stuck with Gulliani as the pres. candidate in '08, the answer is definitely yes.

14 posted on 11/21/2005 7:33:11 PM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances and it advances relentlessly freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Brett66

Errr... no! I mean.

15 posted on 11/21/2005 7:33:45 PM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances and it advances relentlessly freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: pissant

"Mine is the Party of Reagan, GWB, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, and Bolton."

Please remove pro-abortion Condi off that list.

16 posted on 11/21/2005 7:36:29 PM PST by NapkinUser ("Our troops have become the enemy." -Representative John P. Murtha, modern day Benedict Arnold.)
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To: NapkinUser

Never knew she was pro abortion. I've seen it insinuated, but I've never seen an actual quote.

17 posted on 11/21/2005 7:38:27 PM PST by pissant
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To: Torie

That's an excellent analysis. The Republican Party has had two wings in conflict for well over 100 years with one wing gaining control and then the other. It's actually how political parties are supposed to work; unlike the Democrat Party that has evolved into just degrees of extremism.

18 posted on 11/21/2005 7:46:15 PM PST by Russ
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To: Frank T

Presidency of George W. Bush -- the first 48 months


President Bush signing a federal ban on Partial Birth Abortion

Banned Partial Birth Abortion

Reversed Clinton's move to strike Reagan's anti-abortion Mexico Policy

Stopped foreign aid that would be used to fund abortions.

Supported and upheld the ban on abortions at military hospitals

Signed E.O. reversing Clinton's policy of not requiring parental consent for abortions under the Medical Privacy Act

Killed the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty

Killed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court

Killed Clinton's CO2 rules that were choking off all of the electricity surplus to California

Killed Clinton's "ergonomic" rules that OSHA was about to implement; rules that would have shut down some home business in America

First Missile is Installed For NMD on July 23, 2004

Killed the U.S. - CCCP ABM Treaty that was preventing the U.S. from deploying our ABM defenses

Built ten ABM silos in Alaska and California so that America has a defense against North Korean nukes

Killed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty so that the U.S. can once again test our nuclear weapons

The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (less romantically known as H.R. 5382) ultimately allows average Americans to hitch a ride on a civilian space craft at their own risk. The federal ban on such citizen travel was repealed by HR 5382 in 2004. The President signed that bill into law two days before Christmas.

President Bush pledged to Israel on 4/14/2004 that it could keep parts of the West Bank, giving international legitimacy to Jewish settlements there

Denied Palestinian refugees any right of return to what is now Israel, saying they should be resettled in a future Palestinian state instead

Part of coalition (Russia, Israel, EU, Palestine, USA) for Israeli/Palestinian "Roadmap to Peace"

Pushed through THREE raises for our military

Increased Defense Dept funding which had deteriorated during the previous 8 years

President Bush's Grand Strategy (click here)

President Bush's Environmental Record - 2004 (click here)

Signed TWO bills into law that arm our pilots with handguns in the cockpit

Currently pushing for full immunity from lawsuits for our national gun manufacturers

Ordered Attorney-General Ashcroft to formally notify the Supreme Court that the OFFICIAL U.S. government position on the 2nd Amendment is that it supports INDIVIDUAL rights to own firearms, NOT a leftist-imagined *collective* right

Told the United Nations we weren't interested in their plans for gun control (i.e. the International Ban on Small Arms Trafficking Treaty)

Signed the 2004 Omnibus Budget 1/26/2004 that now MANDATES that gun buyers' background check information be fully and permanently destroyed within 24 hours of the completion of the check, no matter what.

Repealed Gun Controls Against Active, Retired, and Off-Duty Law Enforcement Personnel Carrying Weapons Into Local and State Prohibited Zones (7/28/2004)

Enacted powerful tort reform legislation that moves many class action lawsuits from state to federal courts. Requires federal courts to hear cases where the amount of the dispute is more than $5 million, and when the defendant and any of the plaintiffs live in different states.

Disarmed Libya of its Chemical, Nuclear, and biological WMD's without bribes or bloodshed

Won an agreement that U.S. Navy sailors may now freely board thousands of commercial ships in international waters to search for weapons of mass destruction under a landmark pact between the United States and Liberia, the world's No. 2 shipping registry (signed Feb 11, 2004), and Panama 5/10/2004

Approves The First U.S. Counter-Intel Plan

Successfully executed 2 wars and rebuilt 2 nations: Afghanistan and Iraq. 50+ million people who had lived under tyrannical regimes now live in freedom...epitomized by their own free and democratic elections.

Provided Billions in aid, machines, and manpower to tsunami victims.


Executed a WAR ON TERROR by getting world-wide cooperation to track funds/terrorists (has cut off much of the terrorist's funding and captured or killed many key leaders of the al Qaeda network)

Bush Administration diplomacy led to the 5/25/2004 peace accord that ended a massive 20-year civil war between Sudan's Islamic north and Christian south after two million deaths Click Here

  Delivered vital emergency aid to millions of survivors on multiple continents (e.g. Africa, SE Asia) of a devastating Tsunami caused by a 9.1 earthquake near Sumatra.

Brought back our EP-3 intel plane and crew from China without any bribes or bloodshed

Started withdrawing our troops from Bosnia and has announced withdrawal of our troops from Germany and the Korean DMZ.

Signed the LARGEST nuclear arms reduction in world history with Russia

Initiated comprehensive review of our military, which was completed just prior to 9/11/01, accurately reported that ASYMMETRICAL WARFARE was critical.
Created NATO's Rapid Response Force

Changed the tone in the White House, restoring HONOR and DIGNITY to the Presidency

Reorganized bureaucracy...after 9/11, condensed 20+ overlapping agencies and their intelligence sectors into one agency: the Department of Homeland Security.

Initiated discussion on privatizing Social Security and individual investment accounts.

Improving govt. efficiency with .8 million jobs put up for bid...weakening unions and cutting undeserved pay raises. Wants merit based promotions/raises only.

Orchestrated Republican control of the White House, the House AND the Senate.

Killed the liberal ABA's role in vetting federal judges for Congress.

GWB signed an executive order enforcing the Supreme Court's Beck decision (re: union dues being used for political campaigns against individual's wishes)

Turned around an inherited economy that was in recession.

Passed tough new laws to hold corporate criminals to account as a result of corporate scandals.

Signed 2 income tax cuts ---- 1 of which was the largest Dollar-value tax cut in world history

Reduced taxes on dividends and capital gains

In process of eliminating IRS marriage penalty.

Increased small business incentives to expand and to hire new people

Eliminated the Estate Tax (AKA "Death Tax") that was taking small farms and businesses from families

Signed into law the No Child Left Behind legislation delivering the most dramatic education reforms in a generation (challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations)

Reorganized the INS in an attempt to safeguard the borders and ports of America and to eliminate bureaucratic redundancies and lack of accountability.

Signed trade promotion authority

Committed US funds to purchase medicine for millions of men and women and children now suffering with AIDS in Africa

Passed Medicare Reform (authorized $39.5 Billion per year for preventive medicine such as drugs and doctor visits as well as included a ten year Privatization option)

Urging federal liability reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits

Supports class action reform bill which limits lawyer fees so that more settlement money goes to victims

Submitted comprehensive Energy Plan--awaits Congressional action (works to develop cleaner technology, produce more natural gas here at home, make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy, improve national grid, etc.)

Endorses and promotes The Responsibility Era ("In a compassionate society, people respect one another and take responsibility for the decisions they make in life. My hope is to change the culture from one that has said, if it feels good, do it; if you've got a problem, blame somebody else -- to one in which every single American understands that he or she are responsible for the decisions that you make; you're responsible for loving your children with all your heart and all your soul; you're responsible for being involved with the quality of the education of your children; you're responsible for making sure the community in which you live is safe; you're responsible for loving your neighbor, just like you would like to be loved yourself. " -----this quote was too good to leave out)

Started the USA Freedom Corps

Initiated review of all federal agencies with a goal to eliminate federal jobs (completed September 2003) in an effort to reduce the size of federal gov while increasing private sector jobs.

Challenged the United Nations to live up to their responsibilities and not become The League of Nations ( in other words, completely irrelevant)

Nominated strong, conservative judges to the judiciary.

President Bush opened up an additional part of Alaska for domestic oil drilling. In 2004, the National Petroleum Reserve, an area west of the existing Prudhoe Bay field, was approved for new energy exploration and production.

Increased U.S. Oil Drilling Permits 70% Above Clinton-era

Changed parts of the Forestry Management Act to allow necessary clean-up of the national forests in order to reduce fire danger.

As part of the national forests clean-up, the President restricted judicial challenges (based on the Endangered Species Act and other challenges) and removed the need for an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) before removing fuels/logging to reduce fire danger.
New Forest Rules Gives States Power Over Federal Forests Inside Their Borders
Significantly eased field-testing controls of genetically engineered crops.

President Bush signed the workplace verification bill to prevent hiring of illegal Aliens
S. 1685, the Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2003, was signed by President Bush on December 3, 2003.
It extends for five years the workplace employment eligibility authorization pilot programs created in 1996. It expands the pilot programs from the original five states to all 50 states.

U.S. Forces In Baghdad

2nd Term Supplimental (incomplete)

Broke the Chinese Yuan to Dollar currency peg

CAFTA - President Bush signing CAFTA

Bolton to the UN

Has CONSTRUCTION in process on the second group of eight ABM silos in Alaska and California so that America has a land-based defense (in addition to our sea-based SM-3 and AEGIS systems) of 18 ABM's against North Korean nukes (note: China itself currently only has 24 -out of several hundred- nuclear ICBM's capable of reaching the U.S.)

Energy Bill (new tax cuts...after 5 years of opposition)

Immunity For Gun Manufacturers From Crime-Related Lawsuits

5% unemployment
3.4% annual (after inflation, 5.5% actual) reported GDP Growth

Syrian Troops forced to withdraw from Lebanon

Russians Troops Peacefully Withdraw From Georgia

Brought North Korea to the Negotiating Table and won their agreement to dismantle their Nuclear Weapons Program

Chief Justice John Roberts

Dramatically improved U.S.-India relations via a breakthrough nuclear agreement

Signed Bankruptcy Reform Into Law

Waived Make-Work Enviro Studies For New Oil Drilling

Full Immunity From Frivolous Lawsuits For Our Domestic Gun Industry
Click Here

Fed Chairman Bernanke
Iraqi's Thank America (Wow, this is moving!)
Iraqi Kurds thank the United States for liberation in New T.V ads (From MoveAmericaForward)

19 posted on 11/21/2005 7:48:32 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: pissant

I was thinking the same thing -- Republican Party of the 80's forward is much more conservative then in the past.

20 posted on 11/21/2005 7:55:40 PM PST by PhiKapMom (AOII MOM -- Istook for OK Governor in 2006!)
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