Conservatives have no reason to vote for him.
Back and forth I go. I do not want George W. Bush to win this election. And I don’t want to give his thuggish radio-talk supporters, and whom Ilana Mercer calls Bush’s media “Stepford Sluts” the satisfaction.
But then there’s Kerry’s supporters. Who are they? People who hate George W. Bush. That’s it.
I suppose they don’t want to repeat the same “mistake” of nominating a George McGovern, an anti-war candidate, which is why Howard Dean was sandbagged early on. But in 1968, they nominated pro-war Hubert Humphrey, and what good did it do them? Because Democrats are lining up behind a pro-war candidate again, I have no sympathy for them. I want them to lose. They had a chance to be right on one thing, and they still screwed it up.
That’s what hatred for the sitting President can do. Bush and Nixon are similar. In all practical matters that affect most people’s lives, they are to the left of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Spend, spend, spend. Cave, cave, cave on every spending package. Nixon, like Reagan, at least had the excuse that he was working with a Democratic Congress. Bush doesn’t have that excuse.
In 2000, he came in promising to “change the tone” in Washington. Some of the early charges against him were off base. Main example, by refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, he was following the unanimous desire of the Senate. And you know that some things Clinton got away with, such as refusing to sign the international land-mine ban, would have provoked outrage against Bush.
But what has Bush done, with two years of complete Republican control, and two years near-complete (with a split in the Senate)? He has increased domestic spending at rates not seen since the Johnson administration. The old Leftist themes - farmers, schools, old people - got a response from Bush of, "Okay, how much?" He “protected” American jobs with tariffs on steel and lumber. When faced with McCain-Feingold, he signed the bill into law instead of vetoing it on First Amendment grounds. He has provided amnesty for illegal (largely Hispanic) immigrants. He has expanded a War on Obesity. He killed a pro-life Republican challenge to the liberal, pro-choice Sen. Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania, who’s in line to become chair of the judiciary committee, and has spent millions paying for abortions. He has even increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, something Clinton was aware was too hot to touch. He speaks as if all religions are equally good and essentially the same, when a more astute Christian politician would avoid public religious ceremonies of any kind as much as possible.
And with each move, he has earned nothing but greater and greater scorn from the Left. Bush came in to “change the tone” and show us what “compassionate conservatism” is. He has been deathly afraid of the veto pen, and he is unafraid of deficit spending and ever-higher debt ceilings. Yet, the Left has convinced themselves that Bush is an extreme, anti-government capitalist. That’s a point Machiavelli made - the more you give the people, the more they resent you and demand more. In our history, FDR is the only exception to the rule
Four years ago, I had the sense that Bush would win the election and wrote my first article at the Partial Observer about it. Although I then considered myself a conservative, and now am a libertarian, I believe my analysis of what a Bush Presidency on the domestic front would lead us was essentially correct (although I did give Bush more credit for intelligence and competence than he deserved).
Bush’s crumbs to the libertarian and conservative base (miniscule tax rate cuts) were not enough. It was obvious that Bush had grand, expensive visions for America. Even on the rhetorical level, he hardly ever mocked Washington and the size of government. Those were not, and are not, his values. He doesn’t want Washington, D.C., to secure our lives, liberty, and property. Instead, he wants to improve our lives for us. Whether we want him to or not.
Call it what you will, but it is not conservative. Bush has alienated the GOP’s conservative base. With smaller, Constitutional government and an “America First” foreign policy as its political pillars, conservatives no longer have a voice, or a home, in the Republican Party. George Bush hasn’t given them a single reason to vote for him. Not one.
So what will happen this Election Day? In 2000, four million normally Republican “Christian conservatives” - overlapping but not the same as my“political” conservatives - did not vote at all. Apparently, they didn’t trust Bush. Karl Rove, Bush’s political strategist, has been determined to win them back.
I suppose there are two things left to exploit - abortion and homosexuality. I suppose the right mix of lies and exaggerations may get some of them back. But that’s hard to believe: if they didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 because of the abortion issue, why would they now?
Bush’s best hope is that the ignorant remain ignorant. That they hold to the belief that Saddam was behind 9-11, that “they hate us because we are free” and that the insurgents in Iraq are actually terrorists.
But I doubt that the number of votes he gains from the War on Terror will come close to the number of votes he’s lost.