Is Bush a Conservative?

February 9, 2004

By Tom DeWeese

The great problem affecting Americans these days is a mixture of apathy and anger over the growing realization that nothing they say or do matters. It is a growing sense of hopelessness as government spirals out of control and beyond their reach.

What they see is a White House that (1) wants to loan $1.2 billion to the United Nations to renovate its headquarters in New York, (2) that signed agreements with India to accelerate the export of jobs, (3) that has proposed that Mexicans, here illegally, who take jobs from Americans, be granted a status that will lead to amnesty, (4) that has signed off on a profligate Medicare prescription drug plan that balloons this massive social program, (5) that offered a budget so packed with pork it promises an ever-growing deficit, and (6) that thinks it is the federal government’s job to encourage marriage.

It is a White House that (7) has totally taken control of education from states, cities and communities, and (8) is requesting more than $1.3 billion—up $22.6 million than last year—to underwrite still further efforts to “conserve” more land, taking the power of communities and owners of private property to determine what to do with their land. It is a White House so seriously out of tune with its political base one wonders how it can think it will be re-elected.

These are just a few examples of how totally off the rails the Republican train has become in the eyes of its own Party members. Many of its leaders, meeting in Philadelphia in early February, spent a behind-doors session grilling Karl Rove, President Bush’s political advisor, telling him “our constituents are upset.” At an earlier gathering of GOP big whigs, the former chairman of the Party, Haley Barbour, warned them that the November election was going to be close. Just to make sure they understood what he was telling them, he repeated himself.

A President and a Party get elected and reelected based as much on what they are for as what they are against. A lot of Republicans and independents who lean in their direction are against Big Government and Big Spending. Since 2000 that is all the Bush administration has given them and many are in a state of insurrection, desperately trying to get the White House to understand this is not what they voted for.

Does the White House need to be reminded how narrow their last victory was? Do they need to be reminded that they are in office only because the Supreme Court gave them an Electoral College victory, not a victory by the popular vote?

Instead, the entire tone of the White House since taking office has been one of hubris and secrecy. Were it not for 9-11, this President would have long since been abandoned by his constituency and, even with that awful event and all it portends for national security, it may not be enough for a second term.

Still, the White House argues that the economy is on the rebound and, if one looks at events on Wall Street, housing sales, and other economic indicators, such a case can be made, but what is being ignored is (1) the huge debt Americans, old and young, have individually as they struggle to pay rising property taxes, (2) meet the demands of an income tax that takes more than forty percent of their earnings, and (3) pay the countless hidden taxes on everything that affects their daily lives.

As (4) jobs disappear to nations where wages are so much lower than ours, (5) as our manufacturing base decreases, as (6) our agricultural interests reap more government financial support, as (7) more and more jobs in America become “service”, i.e., low-pay Mac-jobs, and (8) as the most important segment of our economy, entrepreneurs and small retailers, are strangled with endless mandates, ordinary people who vote are asking themselves if this White House understands or cares about their problems.

If the economy, despite all the talk of its health and growth, isn’t enough to still the fears of Americans, the nation’s education system hits every home where children are passing through it. The Bush administration signed off on “Leave No Child Behind”, a huge, socialist plan designed by arch-liberal, Sen. Teddy Kennedy, that is now being criticized for its one-size-fits-all mandate that requires the same tests for urban or rural schools, large or small. Neither school administrators, nor teachers, joined by a growing chorus of citizens saddled with huge property taxes, deem this program appropriate to the need to reform an educational system that fails to provide adequate instruction in even the most basic skills.

Worse yet, the Bush administration is now sponsoring a United Nations curriculum designed to deny the sovereignty of the United States, teaching a “citizen of the world” philosophy. In another social area, schools continue to ignore an “abstinence” message in favor of lessons in sexuality that grants equality to all forms of sex. The use of drugs like Ritalin to control children continues unabated. Schools are no longer safe zones and even the daily pledge of allegiance is disputed in the courts.

While most Americans grasp the need to fight the worldwide Islamic Jihad threatening our nation and the West, concerns about nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq will continue to worry them despite our evident successes in regime change in those nations.

In a nation that remains sharply divided, the Republican Party and the White House, however, have abandoned the very principles that drew people increasingly to its ranks. Half or more of all Americans no longer even bother to vote and, if disaffected Republicans and Independents stay home on Election Day in November, George W. Bush will become, as his father before him, a one-term President.

Are there differences between the Republican and Democrat Parties? Yes, but the line has been so blurred by the policies and actions of the White House, a rising tide of distress is being expressed from within the Party and may well be reflected in a new administration in January 2005, one that will win because too many are asking, “Is Bush listening? Is Bush a conservative?”

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.