Skip to comments.Conservatives, Cut Bush Slack
Posted on 06/22/2002 9:46:05 AM PDT by quidnunc
This summer will mark the 47th year since I took my first Republican job: as public relations director for the party in Minnesota. Since then I have rarely strayed from politics, or my party. I served as a staffer to two GOP congressmen, to a GOP governor, as a federal appointee to Richard Nixon and as a corporate executive who supported in Washington and Springfield much, if not all, of the Republican agenda.
You can describe me as a conservative. Thus I am qualified to say that although I dearly love conservatives, they tend to be querulous, disagreeable and threaten revolt when Republican office-holders don't please them. So it is now with George W. Bush. Here is a president who has surprised us all with the firmness and resolve he showed after 9/11. I must tell you I voted for him with less enthusiasm than I had for many of his predecessors. But his administration has pleased me often most notably on two issues: defense of America and social policy.
Yet, Bush has to get re-elected in a country that is evenly divided on philosophy. Thus he must occasionally on matters that sometimes offend conservatives dip into the other side's ideology for support. He has done so on three notable occasions: on the issue of steel protectionism, where he departed his free-market proclamations; on the signing of a campaign finance bill tailored by his enemies, and allowing his attorney general (in the words of Libertarian Nat Hentoff in the Washington Times) "to send disguised agents into religious institutions, libraries and meetings of citizens critical of government policy without a previous complaint, or reason to believe that a crime has been committed."
In a perfect political world, where conservatives are in the majority, these things would be sufficient to encourage a boycott of the polls. Either that or a protest vote for the Democratic opposition. But we are not in a perfect world. We conservatives have a president who didn't receive a majority of the votes, and has one house of Congress against him. He must make compromises to get re-elected. Conservatives who do not understand the nature of politics ought to stay in their air-conditioned ivory towers and refrain from political activity altogether. If they cannot adjudge the stakes in this election and the difference between Bush and an Al Gore or a John Kerry (D-Mass.) or a Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), they are foolish indeed.
To read the remainder of this op/ed open the article via the link provided in the thread's header.
"Politics is a slow process and the only way to turn things around, is to elect more and more conservative candidates to public office. That means employing a strategy of practical policy based on political incrementalism, negotiation and compromise."
>>>Correct me if I am mistaken, but it appears that the Republicans have been trying this strategy since the thirties. After seventy years of apparent stagnant or failing results, I would ask, "Has it worked yet?" Or perhaps, "When are we going to be there?"
You're making my points. Look, any serious or even casual observer of American politics in the 20th century, knows all to well, that America was governed by the forces of creeping liberalism and softcore socialism for the better part of the last 70 years. It's very true that Republicans offered little if no opposition to the Democratic Party agenda. Old guard Democrats and liberals from the days of FDR's New Deal through LBJ`s Great Society policies, controlled the federal government with few breaks or exceptions. But things have taken a different course in the last 20 years. Politics in America has taken a more conservative path and if you can't see that, you're blind. This has lead to more political confrontation and gridlock.
Like I said, politics is a slow process.
America began taking on a different set of priorities and new a mindset, after the election of Ronald Reagan as President in 1980. Excessive taxation was reversed, as Reagan took the top tax rates from 70% down to 28%. He lifted regulations that were harming and impeding private business efforts. Reagan also boosted spending on national defense considerably and led us into the next phase of high technology weaponry. The last of these accomplishments won America and western civilization, The Cold War.
However, this was only a small beginning. The incremental changes made by the Reagan Revolution were enhanced and built upon by the next phase of conservative change, Newt Gingriches, Contract with America. 65% of the Contract with America was eventually signed into law by the southern liberal, turned opportunist and moderate, Bill Clinton. Gingrich had some success during his four years as Speaker.
>>>... after the Republican leadership fiasco in the House where a moral Republican leader could not be found to lead the fight to impeach an immoral President, the Republicans that were left completely abandoned their conservative agenda in an effort to keep a low profile with all those axes flying around. Since the Republicans abandoned the conservative agenda, they have progressively lost seats in every subsequent election.
Very true, but no one has ever said this would be an easy process. At times, Republicans have taken two steps forward and three steps back. But let's not forget, the majorities that Gingrich and Dole had, were small in comparison to what Democrats had in the 1930`s and the 1960`s, the hayday's of liberalism and social engineering policy.
>>>Bush lost the popular vote by a wide margin.
WRONG! The latest figures I have show the following:
Bush 50,459,624, or 48.38%
Gore 51,003,238, or 47.87%
That looks mighty close to me. Bush didn't win on any technicality, he won with Constituional law on his side. And it's my opinion, the last minute flurry of charges by the libdems, that Bush had a DUI/DWAI 25-30 earlier, took what most polling experts saw as a 1%-2% Bush victory in the popular and changed that into a slight popular vote margin by Algore.
>>>Perhaps, the single most important reason for his loss was his abandonment of his "read my lips" position.
That's nonsense. I don't know why you're even mentioning Bush41. These two men are father and son, they aren't Siamese twins! The main reason Bush41 lost to Bill Clinton, was due to the crazed candidacy of one Ross "The Little General" Perot. Have you forgotten so quick? Bush41 didn't lose because of his "read my lips" pledge. If anything, that was a small factor in the big picture of the 1992 campaign. The truth is Bush41 was a bad candidate, who didn't have the fire in the belly needed to fight the good political fight against the liar and phony, Bill Clinton. Some have said, Bush41 was also a sick man at the time, with physical aliments that slowed down his overall campaign efforts.
>>>Bush Jr. genuinely believes government is a part of the solution to many of our problems.
In many cases, it is and Ronald Reagan thought so too.
It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work -- work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.
First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981
>>>I will repeat it for the memory impaired. When Republicans run on a left-leaning, moderate or even modest conservative agenda, they lose elections. They lose these elections because they have not given conservatives a reason to vote for them.
With the demise of the Gingrich mini-Revolution, on many occasions, Republicans have slipped into a go-along to get-along strategy with liberal Democrats. Personally, I do not support this type of strategy in most cases and believe it is harmful to the conservative agenda, which is still at the heart of the Republican platform. This is why, you will find me preaching, time and time again, day in and day out, here on FreeRepublic, the need to elect more conservative minded individuals to the Congress. The political means of getting more conservatives elected to office, is through the political party process. In this case, that is through the Republican Party.
>>>Indeed, if we are not going to quickly restore living under the Constitution, then the sooner that some state secedes then the sooner we will have a choice between socialism or a Constitutional Republic that restores individual freedom and property rights.
In case you don't know it, Jim Robinson doesn't want talk of secession on FreeRepublic. I've told you about this extremist nonsense before, but its apparent you don't respect JimRob's posting guidelines and directives. Other then that, I have no comment about this ridiculous rhetoric.
>>>ReaganMan would have you believe that I am a pessimist.
You are a pessimist, not to mention a fringe extremist and reactionary absolutist.
>>>My greatest fear is that Freepers and Republicans will adopt the same strategy recommended by ReaganMan. That is the same formula for failure that Republicans keep adopting in losing election after losing election.
Oh really now. LMBO. You are something else. This is a bold face lie! Republicans have been winning every election for Congress since 1994 and a Republican controls the Presidency too. The reason Republicans don't control the Senate is bcause of Jim Jeffords switching parties. STOP the lies and distortions already.
>>>... let the weak kneed and spineless Republicans lose. But if I am right, it will not be a bad thing at all for the Democrats to take control of both houses of Congress this fall.
This is a moronic strategy that is supported by you and the other politcal malcontents that dwell here on FreeRepublic. You can stuff that crappola. Ain't gonna happen. The people who support this extremist agenda, are the same people who voted for Buchanan, Browne, Hagelin and Philips in the last presidential election and recieved a grand total of 1% of all votes. That was 1,066,482 votes for the fringe candidates, out of some 105,412,329 total votes cast for president. Get real.
>>"Punish" is the not the correct thought. Conservatives need to hold Republicans accountable for abandoning their conservative philosophy.
You have no desire to hold Republicans accountable. You want liberals to win elected office. Why? You have some wild idea, that in doing this, your fringe extremist candidates will have a better chance of getting elected, at some future date. This is pure rubbish and absolute hogwash!
Listen up folks. Before we can return America to more of the Constitutional intentions of the Founding Fathers, we first have to deconstruct the deeply imbedded liberal-social policies and programs that have given us an enourmous federal government, with far too much power and far too much influence into the lives of the American people.
In addition, before we can return America to more constituional governance, of a smaller and less intrusive federal government, we must first have real tax reform. The excessive taxation that feeds the bloated federal bureaucracy, must be reduced and better yet reformed. We must radically change the way the federal government is funded. We have to return more of the taxpayers money, back to the hard working American's who pay those taxes.
Since the earliest beginnings of this nation, we have always had an ever expanding federal goverment. Every Congress and every president has added to the size and scope of the federal government. I believe President Reagan tried to make some incremental change and had some limited success. I believe President Bush is attempting to do the same thing. I don't know how successful Bush will be in the end, but so far he is on the right track and has had some limited accomplishments. Some of the things the Bush administration has accomplished, have pleased conservatives like myslef. Others have not. All in all, I would say, so far, so good. But retaking the Senate and increasing Republican majorities in the House this fall, should be a priority for all rank and file Republicans, all conservative Republicans and all conservative minded individuals everywhere.
>>>The defense of liberty is not extremeism. And if only 1% of the people share my beliefs, then we are the one per cent to whom the other 99% should be listening.
You're blowing a lot of hot air and nothing more. You're fringe, extremist political agenda offers nothing to conservatives. The failures of third party candidates is part of the historical record in American politics. You want a revolution in America. PERIOD! You want states to secede from the union. What you want is chaos and anarchy in America. You want to destroy America, then rebuild her into your ideal image of a fringe extremist, utopian society. I won't let that happen. I will fight you and your ilk at every turn and if that means getting bloody about it, so be it! But you will not succeed. I guarantee you that.
Bush 50,459,624, or
Gore 51,003,238, or
Sorry, I missed that.
I don't consider incremental conservative policy as tinkering. But I do consider, calling for states to secede from the union and/or talk of a second American revolution, to be "fringe wacko" rhetoric. You got that part right.
"The paradox with me is how any friend to the union of our country can, in conscience, contribute a cent to the maintenance of anyone who perverts the sanctity of his desk to the open inculcation of rebellion, civil war, dissolution of government, and the miseries of anarchy."
Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1815.
IMHO, as long as you're concentrating on the symptoms and ignoring the cause, you're just tinkering, because anything you do is easily undone or circumvented. No lasting change results from it. The secessionists and revolutionaries are a tiny albeit vocal minority. Others, like the Constitution Party are less extreme, and closer to traditional conservativism. To me the disconnect in your philosophy is the "negotiate, compromise, and live to fight another day" tactics with regard to the liberals, and the "my way or the highway" stance toward those within the ranks of conservatives.
This was the exact intention of the Founding Fathers. The political will of the American people, as expressed, through their elected representatives, shall rule the direction that this nation takes. It has always been this way and it always remain so. Total lasting change is a fallacy. Mankind doesn't do well when he sits still. We are forever moving in some direction.
You will make no progress towards real change by saying the cause of our problems today, is a result of the constitutional ignorance of the American people. You have to appeal to folks at a different level of consciousness, or awareness. You have to appeal to their economic conditions, in otherwords to their pocketbook. You have to portray government as an entity that promotes waste, fraud and abuse of the taxpayers money. You have to educate people to see things through a conservative viewpoint, before you can teach them about Constitutional priorities and principles.
>>>To me the disconnect in your philosophy is the "negotiate, compromise, and live to fight another day" tactics with regard to the liberals, and the "my way or the highway" stance toward those within the ranks of conservatives.</i.
I don't have a "my way or the highway" stance, as you say. But my political philosophy, for all intents and purposes, is the Reagan political philosophy, of mainstream conservatism and GOP republicanism.
As Reagan said:
"When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn't like it. "Compromise" was a dirty word to them and they wouldn't face the fact that we couldn't get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything.
"I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'
"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it."
Ronald Reagan, from his autobiography, An American Life
I repeat again, politics is a slow process.
I understand what you're saying about the constitutional ignorance of the American people. I accept that. I don't accept that those we choose to represent us should be equally ignorant, and do not believe that they are, and am somewhat dismayed that we allow them to pretend to be.
In absolute terms, you are correct. Within the context of American history, the legacy of Wilson and FDR have produced significant change that has lasted for seven decades or more, and unless it is reversed will endure to the end of the Republic, and will have contributed greatly to it's demise.
Well my friend, that's why we have to elect more and more conservative minded people to the Congress. The people who have the best understanding of the Constitution, are conservatives. But as I keep saying, there just aren't enough conservatives to go around and make a difference. We've got to pull in those rank and file Republicans and independents who realize what the Constitution is all about, in order to build a governing coalition that will a chance to advance, the GOP platform and push the conservative agenda.
American politics is very complicated and the overall process is very slow. The one percent crowd will never have their way and simply can't effect the other 99-percent of us, without compromising their own agenda. They don't want to do that and therefore, they will remain in political limbo, forever! As I like to say, people can discuss all the philosophy and ideology they want, but without an accepted and successful political party, to represent your platform and agenda, you will never be able to assure yourself of political victory on election day. NEVER!
No doubt about it. Too much of the New Deal is still around today. Phasing out Social Security and allowing people to be financially responsible for their own retirement is good social policy. As for the demise of the Republic, I disagree with you. I don't see it in the cards. There is no reason why the USA can't be here 100-200-500 or even 1000 years from now.
This sounds reasonable to me. What percent of our "conservative" agenda would you estimate we are getting from the current administration?
Could you cite a few specifics that give your estimate credence? There can't be any of it on the spending side. Virtually all of Clinton's EO's are still in force. Partial birth abortion is still legal. We have a "Ted Kennedy" approved education plan. We have more federal employees, another federal agency up our behinds, this time with flashlights and ever-increasing federal handouts almost across the board. You say that we've offset all of this with something. What?
Man oh man, you guys are so predictable. I was going to include a short list of items, but then I figured, why. You're bound to ask me the standard question and so you have.
I'll think about it and see what I have in my document archive of past responses. Right now I'm busy.
evidently, the "big" 'man doesn't have a life. he probably keeps a parrot just to argue with.