20 October 2005

Takin' It To The Barn(es)

I love Fred Barnes. I love his always well reasoned analysis. Heck, I'm even a regular viewer of the Beltway Boys. Therefore, it pains me to have to part with him here. In his op-ed piece from his Weekly Standard entitled The Conservative Revolt I believe he misses the significance of the current upheaval on the right, and the splendid opportunities it presents.

Barnes lists some very important deviations by the Bush administartion from conservative ideals, such as ". . . He deviates on the role of the federal government, on domestic spending, on education, on the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, and on immigration . . ."

Conspicious by it's absence from this litany is the absolutely stunning failure of Bush to veto McCain-Feingold. I remember the punditicracy on the right giving us a wink and nod telling me, the conservative base, not to worry that it would never pass muster with the SCOTUS! Ouch. Fool me once....now the punditocracy on the right who remain in Bushes camp tell me trust Bush on Miers. I don't think so.

"... He deviates on the role of the federal government..." That line alone may qualify for understatement of the year. The Cato Institute has a new bulletin out that shows Bush outspending LBJ the bane of conservatives by almost a 2 to 1 ratio! For this we worked our tails off to keep Gore and Kerry out of office?! How much more of this is the conservative base supposed to ignore? How much longer are to hold our nose and vote for Republicans when all it gets us is big right wing government?

This one line is significant because it glosses over the fundmental problem Bush has with his conservative base that is sine qua non to his tenure. To depart from conservatives on the role of the federal government is to deny all that is the conservative philosophy of limited government.

Barnes goes on to defend the President by highlighting some of his noteworthy achievements for which I am sincerely appreciative.

". . . Bush, of course, is a conservative, but a different kind of conservative. His tax cuts, support for social issues, hawkish position on national security and terrorism, and rejection of the Kyoto protocols make him so. He's also killed the ABM and Comprehensive Test Ban treaties, kept the United States out of the international criminal court, defied the United Nations, and advocated a shift in power from Washington to individuals through an 'ownership society.' . . ." This last point is telling of the problem that all Republican officeholders (not just the President) have with their base. That is, the attempt to substitute "good-intentions" for results. "Advocated" is significantly different from "Achieved" or "Accomplished".

The base of the Democratic party has demonstrated for decades they are willing to accept such bait and switch foolishness from their party, (go back to LBJ's dismally failed "war on poverty" for example) where good intention is quite enough and actual results matter not a wit.

Conservatives are a bit more shrewd, and actually expect results. While Clinton was in office after the GOP takeover in 1994, the GOP at least held the headlong rush toward socialism and a complete surrender of our sovereignty to a fast walk, under Bush it has become a full gallop, to wit the recent transportation boondoggle, and throwing shiploads of money at the Gulf Coast, prescription drug benefits, etc.

The President and congress have but a year or so to realign with their base. Results, not excuses. Less burdensome goverment, not spin. The clock is running. -SpinDaddy