Bush: too conservative?
President Bush is constantly being attacked, second—guessed, and criticized. It comes with the job. As the importance of the Chief Executive in our Republic continues to grow, the attention focused on the Presidency and his policies grows with it. This is altogether proper. Most criticisms come from political enemies as a matter of course, the disdainful eye of the mainstream media elite, the Hollywood Left, the French, and of course, the Democrats.
Soon however Bush will be scrutinized by a new dissenter, a former cabinet member and political ally, Christine Todd Whitman, the former ineffectual Governor of New Jersey, the former disastrous Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, famous pro—choice Republican moderate, and one of the truly remarkably light—weight political minds around. Whitless.
To the delight of the mainstream media, Whitman is making the rounds to promote the upcoming publication of her new book It's My Party Too, which posits the notion that Bush and his right—wing supporters are hijacking the party from its broad—based moderate core. This, in itself, is no surprise. The insipid musings of vapid ex—politicos in book form could fill any decent—sized library. The admiration of the New York Times and their ilk for 'moderate' 'centrist' Republicans is nothing new. Yet this promotion of this book is special, I think, because of how tellingly and absurdly wrong it is, and how respectfully it is being considered and weakly it is being refuted. It begs the question: is Bush too conservative?
Liberals naturally lament their almost total loss of power at the national level and in their frustration lash out at unreal conservative demons to explain away the impotency of their efforts. Thus Bush and his administration is to be feared and incessantly branded as 'far right' and 'ultra' conservative. This is nothing new. What is new and not so understandable is the continuing tendency, after the election when it is no longer necessary to avoid the disaster of Kerry, of conservative pundits, from Rush Limbaugh to the National Review, to enthuse over the 'deeply held' conservative principles of Bush and his Administration.
The plainest truth is that, far from being right wing, Bush is hardly even a conservative at all. And both the Left in their hatred, and the Right in their fawning cheerleading, don't see it. By any rational, objective criteria, Bush is a liberal. Let me explain.
Recoiling with disgust at the pejorative 'liberal' to define Bush is a natural reaction given the present understanding of the word implying a kind of fuzzy—minded, tree—hugging, lawyer—loving, military—loathing, anti—religion, pro—gay marriage, judicial—activist type. However, if you define a liberal in the more traditional (1950s, not Nineteenth Century) sense, as someone whose first impulse is all too often to go Federal, a big state, pro—government, throw money at problems politician, Bush fits the bill. In its simplest formulation, liberals want more government, conservatives, less government. It is in this sense that Bush is a liberal.