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This thread has degenerated into a flamewar. No more replies. Sheesh.
Skip to comments.Gap widening between Bush and conservatives
Posted on 01/23/2004 5:23:57 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy
I thought President Bush's State of the Union address was fine. It wasn't outrageously long. He drew a bright line between himself and his critics on the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, Social Security Reform, etc. He delivered it well, and the nudity was tasteful and integral to the plot.
As luck - or bad timing - would have it, I was invited to Manhattan to address the New York State Conservative Party right before the president addressed the nation. It seemed only fitting since the subject of my speech was the conflict between Bush's "compassionate conservatism" and traditional conservatism. You see, conservatives in New York City have suffered more and for longer than conservatives in the rest of America. Trust me, I grew up on New York City's Upper West Side. We felt like Christians in Ancient Rome.
Well, after three years with George W. Bush at the helm, many conservatives are starting to feel like we've been sent to the catacombs. Don't get me wrong. Out in real America where most Americans - liberal and conservative - don't focus on politics every day, Bush is still doing very well. And, even among conservatives, Bush has considerable political support. But among ideological and intellectual conservatives, emotional support for Bush is starting to ebb.
I can't point to anything scientific. But if you pay attention to what conservatives are saying at meetings and in magazines, on the Web and at the think tanks, as well as what readers, friends, colleagues and sources say, there's a definite undercurrent of discontent with the president.
For some it started with his plan to offer amnesty-lite to illegal immigrants. For others, it's his fence-sitting on gay marriage. For others, like me, it was his signing of the campaign finance reform bill even though he thought it was unconstitutional. Or maybe it was his support for steel tariffs. Or the farm bill. I forget.
Anyway that doesn't matter. What unites pretty much all of these grumblers is a deep sense of, well, disgust with how much this administration is spending.
When it comes to taxpayer dollars, this is the second most "generous" administration in American history, second only to that of another Texan, Lyndon Johnson. There may be good aspects to George Bush's "compassionate conservatism," though on the whole I never liked it, but it's clear that compassion doesn't come cheap at the Bush White House, on whose watch overall spending from 2001 to 2003 grew at 16 percent and discretionary spending went up 27 percent. That's double Bill Clinton's rate.
Bush's defenders are eager to point to the war on terrorism as an excuse for increased spending. Fine. But that's only a small part of the story.
Under Bush, spending on education has gone up 60.8 percent, on labor 56 percent and on the Department of the Interior by 23.4 percent . The price tag for the president's Medicare plan alone starts, but won't end, at $400 billion. The farm bill was a pork horror show, pure and simple. More people work for the federal government now than at any time since the end of the Cold War.
Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation sums it up this way: "Overall for 2003, the federal government spent $20,300 per household, taxed $16,780 per household, and ran a budget deficit of $3,520 per household."
The reason most Americans haven't heard a lot about all this is twofold. Conservatives have stayed relatively quiet and liberals have controlled the anti-Bush microphone.
Democratic presidential candidates and interest groups have been screeching that the president is gutting education and abandoning the elderly. Obviously this is nonsense on tall stilts, since Bush is spending a lot more on both than Bill Clinton ever did.
In fact, on Medicare and education, for example, the Dems think Bush is being stingy. And a study by the National Taxpayers Union found that each and every one of the Democrats running for president have plans that would raise the deficit even more, from $169.6 billion under Joe Lieberman to - get this - $1.33 trillion under Al Sharpton.
Conservative opposition to such overspending is more complex than the media and the left think. Some just don't like red ink. Others think big government erodes freedom and traditional arrangements. Others believe it slowly inoculates the citizenry to greater levels of social engineering.
Whatever the reasons, conservatives - as opposed to partisan Republicans - have sincere misgivings about the kind of presidency Bush is conducting. A lot of compassionate conservatism is smart politics for the Republican Party, and some of it is even good policy. And, yes, conservatives understand that the GOP is practically the only place they have a real impact in electoral politics.
But I'm not sure George Bush understands how much he is asking from those who brought him to the dance.
Ain't that the truth.
Expect him to strenuously push for, and sign, a much more restrictive Assault Weapons Ban.
This ain't your daddy's Reagan.
Bush being what he is, I don't think so. One of his chief virtues is that he has his own set of beliefs to which he remains faithful to the bitter end--kind of like the Andy Reid of politics. If the beliefs are sound, all is well. Otherwise ...
He said it.
As to Jonah's article, I agree with much of what he says, but I believe that Bush has begun to respond after setting the table for centrist voters with the Ed Bill and the Granny Bill. Domestic spending is set to grow by 1% this year in the 2005 budget.
Be Seeing You,
You are asking for proof of a future event.
If I could do that, do you think I'd be wasting time with you morons?!??! I'd be cashing my Lotto checks!
Nice try, though.
Wow, maybe Bush is right. Amnesty for our forgotten. :o)
Why shouldn't I ask you for proof since you are posting as if it is an already done deal. I'm just asking you how you've come to that decision.
Its important to keep this in mind as we debate.
I am certainly disappointed in several of W's decisions, however, politics will not support a straight-jacked idealouge. And of course, the alternative is major-bad-worse-to the nth f'in' degree.
I'm all for this debate w/i the conservative movement, its what distinguishes us from the libs (that we can debate intellegently) but we must never loose sight of the fact that the demonicrats cannot be allowed to return to power.
Why should he alienate his base by gutting the First Amendment with CFR? Why should he alienate his base by declaring "Open Border Season"? Why should he alienate his base by signing massive new prescription drug benefits? Why should he alienate his base by proposing Universal Hillary Care?
The answer: Cuz he doesn't care. He doesn't have to. He is counting on the calculus that for every conservative he loses, he'll gain two squishy moderates.
I don't blame him, but I can't vote for it.
You said I said he said that?
Expect him to not even mention the Assault Weapons Ban.
I think this is just a preview of what will happen to the budget if a Democrat gets into office.
It was reported by all the networks.
I hope you're tight.
I fear you're wrong.
I think the word "informed" is in the eye of the beholder. LOL!
To me, it sounds a little like "chicken little" praying that the sky will fall down so she will have something to complain about.
Opinions are like aholes. Everyone's got one and usually they stink.
It was reported by all the networks.
My number one issue is gun control. It's how I discovered conservatism.
This son-of-a-Bush has been so bad on every conservative issue so far that -- and be honest with yourself here -- can't you just visualize him pushing for and signing a much more restrictive Assault Weapons ban?
BTW, Mojo's back too.
Thus this is merely opinion. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin.
C'mon Laz...you said that "He said it", but then try to turn it around by saying you can't provide proof of a future event? All we are asking for is the statement that you stated Bush made. If he made a statement about pushing for and signing a more restrictive AWB, it would be a past event...so provide a quote please. Otherwise, you are merely using your crystal ball to spread disinformation...that's not like you.
You are not... LOL!
By the way... I will do your and Laz's job for you.
According to the White House site, the President does support the current assault weapon ban...
Lately, on Free Republic there have been alot of "accusations" and "charges" made without proof. These over generalizations of positions and beliefs about what will happen in the future usually denigrate into a name calling slug fest.
Proof usually melts away any opposition.
That said... can anyone tell me why anyone would need to own an assault weapon?
In Post #5, you stated "He said it".
He's been good on guns. In my life, this is the first administration which has taken a stance that the 2nd amendment means what it says- individuals have a right to keep and bear arms.
He's been outstanding when it comes to the judiciary. He's been outstanding when it comes to pro-life issues.
He's been outstanding at telling the UN to pound sand. Repeatedly.
He's been outstanding at balancing the challenges of rising to the terror threat without stomping on essential liberties-- despite the caterwauling of the LewCrew.
He's driven the biggest threat to conservative values, the modern Democrat party, so batty that they may completely implode, which will open the floodgates for restoring the judiciary to its proper role (a task that must be done for any other conservative goals to be reached- right now, any progress we make anywhere can be overturned by a robe somewhere).
Three totalitarian regimes, removed (Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia).
The spending is out of hand, and his amnesty proposal sucked. But overall, he's not just been a good President, but a very good one.
We need to pressure him on his flaws though. They are correctable.
Bush and NRA clash over assault weapons ban
WASHINGTON -- President Bush and the National Rifle Association, long regarded as staunch allies, now find themselves as unlikely adversaries over one of most significant pieces of gun control legislation in the last decade.
At issue is legislation to be introduced by Senate Democrats on Thursday to continue the nationwide ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. A groundbreaking 1994 measure outlawing the sale and possession of such firearms will expire next year unless Congress extends it, and many gun rights groups have made it their top priority to end the ban. Even some advocates of gun control say the prohibition has been largely ineffective because of its loopholes.
Despite those concerns, however, the White House says that Bush supports the extension of the current law -- a position that has put him in opposition to the NRA and has left many guns owners angry and dumbfounded.
"This is a president who has been so good on the Second Amendment that it's just unbelievable to gun owners that he would really sign the ban," said Grover Norquist, a leading conservative and an NRA board member who opposes the weapons ban. "I don't think it's sunk in for a lot of people yet."
Advocates on both sides of the issue say the White House appears to have made a bold political calculation: That the risk of alienating a core constituency is outweighed by appearing independent of the gun lobby, sticking to a campaign promise and supporting a measure that has broad popular appeal. (hmm...no mention of Constitutionality...wonder why) The president has claimed the middle road -- supporting an extension of the current ban, but not endorsing the stronger measures that gun-control supporters say would outlaw many "copycat" assault weapons. That position has forced Democrats in the Senate to reject plans for a more ambitious weapons ban.
Bush's position "cuts against the NRA's position, and it will put the president -- for one of the first times since he signed the campaign finance reform bill -- at odds with his own political base," said Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
"He's built up enough positive political capital in other areas that it won't be fatal," but the issue could hurt Bush in Middle America states that have strong gun rights sentiments and are considered critical to his re-election in 2004, Franc said.
The assault ban issue puts the president in a precarious political spot.
When Bush was campaigning for president in 2000, a top NRA official boasted that the group's relationship with Bush was so "unbelievably friendly" that the NRA could practically claim a seat at the White House.
The NRA has been a major donor to Bush, and the gun lobby and the Bush administration have been in lock step on most major gun issues, including the current push to limit lawsuits against gun manufacturers. The Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft has been a particularly close ally of the gun lobby, pushing an expanded view of gun rights under the Second Amendment and initiating law enforcement changes sought by the NRA.
But White House officials said the assault weapons ban was one case where the president and the NRA did not see eye to eye.
"There are times when we agree and there are times when we disagree," said Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman. "The president makes decisions based on what he believes is the right policy for Americans," He added that the ban had been implemented as a way to deter crime and that Bush "felt it was reasonable."
The White House position has heartened gun control advocates. Matt Bennett, a spokesman for Americans for Gun Safety, which supports an extension of the weapons ban, said: "I think Bush realizes that, number one, this is the right thing to do, number two, he promised to do this in the 2000 campaign, and number three, he knows that it's good politics and this is an extremely popular measure."
The NRA has maintained a polite civility toward the White House over the issue, even though it insists the ban is an violation of the Second Amendment that deprives hunters and sporting enthusiasts of many high-powered rifles.
Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, said in an interview that the NRA's focus would be on convincing members of Congress to vote against it so that it never reaches Bush's desk. "Do we agree with the administration's position on this? No, we don't, but the real fight is going to be not at that level, but in Congress," he said.
Say it again, Reverand!
I'm not saying that one shouldn't own an assault weapon... I'm asking why anyone would need one.
I'm still waiting for the receive part.
What you just posted said this:
the extension of the current lawBut the assertion was this:
Expect him to strenuously push for, and sign, a much more restrictive Assault Weapons Ban...He said it.So again, can you or Laz back up the assertion that Bush has said he will push (strenuously) for a much more restrictive (than the current law) AWB?