How Bush’s blindly loyal conservative supporters helped push him to the left
article on the growing conservative revolt against President Bush
, Steve Sailer has added an intriguing twist to the case against Bush’s mainstream conservative cheerleaders, whom we have so often criticized at VFR. Sailer writes:
The unquestioning loyalty and inordinate approbation Bush was receiving from Republicans seems to have created in him and his staff a sense of arrogance. This kind of hubris has led Bush into numerous blunders that have sent his chances of re-election dropping ….
Now this is a fascinating comment. All along, mainstream conservative strategists such as David “The Art of Political War” Horowitz had insisted that any serious disagreement by conservatives with Bush’s various leftish tending moves was out of the question, especially during the war on terror, since it would divide and weaken the right in the face of leftist attacks and even lead to the election of a Democrat and thus to catastrophic surrender in the war. There were compelling reasons for rejecting this argument, most importantly that it made any principled conservative politics impossible. But Sailer has brought out a new problem with it. The problem with it is that, by refusing to criticize Bush, by identifying so enthusiastically with him as our Great Patriotic Christian Conservative Morally Upright Wholesome Family-Oriented Modest and Unsophisticated yet Infinitely Canny Leader Who Is Protecting America from Terrorists and from Democrats and Who Must Be Supported at All Costs Even When He Bloats the Welfare State and Tries to Open the Borders and Gives Backrubs to Leftist Democrats and Makes Friends with U.S. Moslem Terror Supporters and Goes Galavanting Around with Anti-American Mexican Presidents, these conservatives gave Bush the feeling that he could do anything
he wanted and get away with it. Instead of making some serious demands on him from a conservative point of view, and thus helping nudge him to the right and keep him there, these conservatives facilitated Bush’s continual moves to the left
. They thus helped assure the very conservative revolt that they most feared.
Such are the wages of a political “realism” which rejects principle as a matter of principle
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 17, 2004 07:32 PM | Send
Correspondent to LA:
“Politics is the art of the possible. I’d rather have Bush than Kerry, and that’s going to be our choice.
“Bush got less than 50% of the vote last time. If you move him even slightly to the right, or alienate a small amount of his conservative support, Kerry will be our next President.
“Please remove me from your list.”
LA to correspondent:
I love the way you blame ME, the writer of a small weblog, for conservatives’ alienation from Bush, rather than Bush’s own actions as President of the United States.
Your e-mail shows that you’ve learned nothing from the catastrophe of Bush’s incessant efforts to placate liberals. Did Bush gain support ANYWHERE for his endorsement of racial proportionality in Grutter? Did he gain support ANYWHERE for his open-the-borders proposal? Did he gain support ANYWHERE for continually hosting U.S. Moslem radicals at the White House? Are you seriously suggesting that if Bush had NOT done the above things and many other things like them, he would be in even WORSE shape today than he actually is? On the contrary, it’s obvious that he would be in far better shape, because he would not have so deeply alienated the very people who voted for him in 2000. He lost their support, while not gaining any support from his liberal enemies whom he hubristically imagined he could win over.
As per your request, I’ve removed you from the VFR list.
Expanding on the above, it’s amazing how perfectly my correspondent articulates the very mindset I was criticizing in the article. “If you move [Bush] even slightly to the right,” he writes, “or alienate a small amount of his conservative support, Kerry will be our next President.”
Think of it. Bush must ONLY move to the left, and NEVER do anything even SLIGHTLY more conservative than he’s doing now, because that would presumably alienate “moderates.” At the same time, conservatives must TOTALLY ACCEPT Bush’s liberalism, because if they fail to do so, a Democrat will be elected president.
Thus every concession goes to the moderates or the soccer moms; nothing is _expected_ of them, they are simply the ones to be continually placated. At the same time, the conservatives, who get _nothing_ out of this, are positively obligated to give their 100 percent support to Bush’s leftward-moving policies. If they complain, THEY are the ones responsible for Bush’s defeat.
The sell-out-every-principle-in-order-to-elect-Bush strategy has never been spelled out more starkly.
Conservatives have long been assumed to “stay at home”, that they could be counted on to show up every election and vote GOP. Whether by chance or by fate, the GOP is in the process of witnessing the re-birth of a previously demoralized, splintered and bickering Democrat Party with all its factions and egos having tried to win the nomination—and at the same time, the falling apart (at the conservative seems) of its own (the GOP’s) party. The “Bush party” is over.
One person, a “street fighting lawyer” from the South, John Edwards was for a long time considered “too young and inexperienced” to be President. Coming up at just the right time, now, John Edwards IS the new Democrat Party. Although Kerry has been on a roll, he hit a brick, pulled a Clinton (deny, deny, deny)—and so enters Sen. Edwards. Timing is EVERYTHING in the entertainment business as it is in politics. Forget about Hillary in 2008…It’s John Edwards.
If a Kerry-Edwards ticket develops (which seems unlikely, given what Kerry thinks of Edwards), I for one am looking forward to a Edwards-Cheney debate—Cheney, the sickly looking grandfather versus the dashing Edwards.
So conservatives have A LOT to look forward to as we either begin the work of a Third Party or join The Constitution Party, and Mr. Auster is (as always) so VERY right—we, by our absence, WILL be blamed for the GOP losses. They blamed Pat Buchanan for Gore’s near-win in ‘00. However, we can hold out heads high knowing that “We did the right thing”—by sticking to the principle of: “I know the Democrat; he is the enemy, and I am ready for him. I THOUGHT I knew my friend and leader, but he is now my enemy…and I do NOT trust him with another 4 years!”
It’s true that conservatives are unfairly blamed by my correspondent for Bush’s current troubles, which are largely Bush’s own fault. But in terms of the actual 2004 election, the crucial point is we WANT Bush to lose, and we want to be SEEN as the ones who made him lose.
Also, on a minor point, the only way in which Buchanan, who got under 200,000 votes in 2000, might have been blamed for Bush’s near loss in that election was that a bunch of liberal Democratic Jewish retirees in Palm Beach county accidentally cast their butterfly ballots for Buchanan and helped set off the post-election madness. :-)
A public love note from Dennis Prager. Very revolting, that. Equally problematic is one of Bush’s newer advocates, Dennis Miller, who has even managed to wrangle a one hour program slot on CNBC every night: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/CNBCTV/TV_Info/P72123.asp . I suspect it’s Dennis Miller who Rove and company are talking about when they jabber on about Republican “Big Tents” and the like. All I know is that any political party that has room for either of these two Dennises doesn’t have room for me. I even think, btw, that Prager was one of Miller’s first guests on his new show.
I wasn’t posting the Prager article in a critical spirit, but as an example of the deep admiration that many conservatives sincerely feel for Bush. The thing is, Bush does have some very good qualities, which win people over, especially people of a conservative or religious bent; but the problem is, in order to maintain their extraordinary admiration for him, they have to start closing their eyes to one thing after another about him that is not so admirable.
But Mr. Auster, certainly any man who can write a sentence such as the following must be an absolute fool or paid propagandist:
Prager: “But what most impressed me — given that I assumed those qualities prior to meeting him — was the president’s intelligence and clarity of vision.”
I question the notion that Bush was ever a conservative. Like his father, he is an internationalist, free-trader, big-government, corporate one-worlder who wears the mantle of a conservative by rhetorically preaching against abortion and gay marriage. But the rhetoric is rarely more than rhetoric. Paleoconservatism has no political voice on the national stage because the Republicrats have successfully moved the country to the left and traditionalists are now on the fringes. The neo-Jacobins have done to the republican party what the anti-war left did to the democratic party in 1968 and the establishment is going to hold on to power within the two party system.
If paleoconservatism is to survive, it needs to form a grassroots opposition party and prepare to be a vilified countercultural force in this country. Appeasement will get us no where.
LOL. Seriously, I do not assume that. Bush has a long demonstrated ability, commented on by many observers, to impress and win people over in social interactions. At the very least, he is gifted at “people intelligence,” if not intellectual intelligence. We do not know the qualities being manifested by Bush that so impressed Prager, since we weren’t there, but I take Prager at his word.
“Also, on a minor point, the only way in which Buchanan, who got under 200,000 votes in 2000, might have been blamed for Bush’s near loss…” —LA
Not so. Buchanan (who got nearly half a million votes) was able to exceed the Gore plurality in four states: New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Oregon. The final count was actually closer in New Mexico than in Florida. It can be argued that Buchanan cost Bush up to 30 electors.
Check out the chart on the bottom of this page:
I often agree with points made by Mr, Prager in his articles, even if they tend to be a bit simplistic at times. (Liberals feel and conservatives think, was the thrust of a recent piece discussed here at VFR, for example.) I think Prager is like many religious conservatives with this blind spot he seems to have developed regarding Bush. Nearly identical sentiments can be found with Dobson, Falwell, and others. Bush has done a good job of couching his leftist agenda in Christian terms, and many of the so-called religious right have bought into it.
There’s no question that Bush has a wholesome, Christian aura, and for religious conservatives to see these qualities in a president of the U.S. just knocks them silly. This is such a great thing to them that they don’t see or really care about anything else.
Thanks to Caesar for the correction on those numbers. And I had never heard before that Buchanan theoretically cost Bush four states (assuming that all the Buchanan votes would have gone to Bush if Buchanan had not been running).
Well, not all the Buchanan votes. Just enough, on net, to erase Gore’s plurality in that state.
Gore won by roughly 5,000 votes in Wisconsin, where Buchanan got roughly 11,000. If Gore managed to get 2,000 of the Pitchforkers, Bush would need only 7,001 to prevail. (The other 1,999 would stay home or vote Phillips, Nader, etc.) It’s at least plausible.
Mr. Levin writes;
“They blamed Pat Buchanan for Gore’s near-win in ‘00.”
Actually, as I recall, very few people blamed Buchanan at all, because of the uncomfortable fact that Bush would almost certainly have lost without Buchanan’s left-wing counterpart, Ralph Nader, in the race. As Bush only won due to third party interference, bringing up Buchanan would force the GOP to deal with the embarassing fact that Nader elected Bush.
As I recall, Buchanan was only brought up defensively; that is, whenever someone said that Nader gave Bush the election, they would bring up Buchanan to say “See? Third parties hurt us, too.”
Mr. Auster, I sit corrected. It was Florida only where Buchanan was blamed for the Demo LOLs supposedly punching chad for him by accident.
Regarding our “taking the blame” for Bush’s upcoming loss in November, I would say that as rewarding as that may be for some conservatives, I would hope that more of us would be “pro-active” in looking to the future (starting a Third Party or joining one already started) and developing planks, leadership and raising money around the country for the mid-term election in ‘06.
I want to point out htat voting third party is, in my estimation, a much better way to protest Bush than voting for his Democratic opponent.
This is because by doing this, we can achieve our goals whether or not Bush is unseated;
If Bush is unseated or nearly unseated, then the GOP will have to try to bring us back into the fold to prevent a conservative crack-up. On the other hand, if Bush wins anyway, some conservatives who voted for Bush out of fear will be emboldened, and the conservative opposition will be able to add more members.
I think that voting Democrat to unseat Bush risks sending the wrong message (Gosh, Republicans need to be more liberal to get more liberal votes) and also will not embolden conservatives who dislike Bush (but are scared of Democrats) to defect from establishment candidates in the future.
The only downside to voting third party is that you would probably have to support someone who was against the Iraq war (but then you would get much the same thing by voting Democrat). (In the interests of full disclosure, I will say that I personally do not see this as a downside, being antiwar myself, but obviously a large number of posters on this board would).
Bravo, to Mr. Alvarez for clearly defining what needs to be done, what I call “looking to the future” in:
“If Paleoconservatism is to survive, it needs to form a grassroots opposition party and prepare to be a villified counter culture force. Appeasement will get us nowhere.”
My only problem is with the term “Paleoconservative”. It sounds like someone out of the dinosaur era.
Many thanks to Mr. Reg Caesar for the clarification on Buchanan’s influence on electoral votes—and for the link.
I completely agree with Michael Jose that Nader had more of an effect on the ultimate outcome than did Buchanan. Buchanan was a “force” in ‘96 until he raised the pitchfork and the wonderful Sen. McCain skwered him with it. He was more of “a nusance” in ‘00 and as he was shut out of the debates, not much of a factor, sadly.
Pardon my third-in-a-row! Michael Jose’s statement (in his Feb. 18th 3:08 am) saying “In the intereset of personal disclosure, I will say that I personally do not see this as a downside, being anti-war myself, but obviously a large number of poster on this board would” is a curiosity of mine—our individual positions on the Iraq War.
In Mr. Auster’s opinion, is the majority view at VFR “pro-war”? Being new here, I have absolutely no idea. Whether it is or isn’t of course won’t make me like this site and the people in the discussions any less!
Also, Mr. Jose’s statement is non-specific in that I wonder if he (Mr. Jose) means “Gentlemen, I’m against the Iraq engagement—now that we have captured Saddam” OR if he is saying “I was against the War from the outset to this day, no matter if we caught that modern day Hitler.” As I see it, there are “different levels” of pro-war and anti-war in this conflict. I would be intrigued to hear from messengers all.
I have been a consistent supporter of the idea that the Hussein regime had to be toppled. Beyond that, it’s not possible to say what is the position of the majority of the people who have posted at this site. What is the population we’re speaking of? All people who have ever read VFR? All posters at VFR since its inception in Spring 2002? People who post regularly today? However, I would guess that a majority of the most frequent posters over the last year have been pro-war.
But I hope people do not start answering Mr. Levin’s question in this thread. This is not the place for a discussion of the war. Perhaps we’ll have another thread on that.
The common argument of the Horowitzes is that foreign policy is too important to fall into the hands of the UN-loving, Arab-appeasing Democrats. If John Kerry becomes president, however, he will continue and deepen our involvement in Iraq, continue to search Pakistan for OBL, and continue to use law enforcement agencies to hunt down terrorists. Public opinion and the nature of the world demand it. Of course, there will be some changes at the margins, maybe not for the better. On the other hand, many Europeans and American Democrats will no longer see anything wrong with those policies. The campaign rhetoric is necessary now only because the candidates need to claim that everything about Bush is wrong and evil. No one actually holding the power of President would handcuff himself to a French veto, though, just because he says it’s right now.
Mr. Auster’s article is right on the mark. I’ll bet it is irrefutable. Now, is it possible that the Republican Party, free of Bush, can be pushed to accept our values or is a third party needed? This seems to be an extremely complicated question. My tentative answer is the essential ingredient for either solution to work is a leader that can defend our values intellectually. So besides trying to defeat Bush, perhaps our efforts would be used most wisely in searching for and lobbying such a person. Perhaps people have some ideas.
On the subject of Bush’s blindly loyal supporters, allow me to make a prediction. I suspect the 2004 campaign will see both parties trying to outbid each other for the hispanic vote. GWB will enthusiastically join this contest.
Furthermore, people like Limbaugh will tell us we need to back our President in this endeavor. Rush will say, “The Democrats will have an amnesty policy much worse than that of Bush.” After Bush’s initial open-borders betrayal, Limbaugh was already starting on this theme.
Yes, many Christian conservatives love Bush for identifying with Christianity. An example is Cal Thomas’s blubbering praise for Bush’s speech in Africa in which our “Conservative” President wailed about the evils of American history.
David is right about the orgy of hispandering we have to look forward to. To the extent hispanics vote, the Democrats will benefit.
He is probably right about the line Limbaugh will adopt about amnesty, which happens to be true. It is also grossly and deliberately misleading. While Democrats are happy to flood the country with unassimilable foreigners at the expense of the natives, at the top they were not the people forcing the immigrationist agenda. It is George Bush, thanks to his peculiar obsession about Mexico and Mexicans, who has moved amnesty for illegal aliens and “guest-worker” programs to import more third-world indigents into the liberal mainstream. It is no surprise that once Bush started this game Democrats were ready to top his bid for hispanic favor. If Bush had not done so, the Democrats would probably have stuck to their usual obsessions. Democrats were not making open immigration a national political crusade; Bush has. HRS
A couple of weeks ago on his blog, Mr. Frum praised GWB’s political acumen in moving to the left. Frum blandly noted that America is a more liberal country than it was in 1984 because of hispanic immigration. Mr. Auster started a thread on the Forum last fall when Mr. Kristol wrote a column in the Washington Post titled “Bush could lose.” One of Kristol’s reasons was that hispanics had tilted the country to the left.
We’re seeing that more and more. “Bush has to become more liberal because of changing demographics. This proves what a smart politician he is.” Of course these same people were claiming a few years ago that hispanics were “cultural and social conservatives,” and we should bring more of them in. Now they are saying, “These people have moved the country to the left and we must adapt to this reality.”
David’s observation should be planted in our memory banks and repeated in every conservative forum that one can find. This gets at the heart of the unseriousness of modern conservatives in relation to the immigration debate—an unseriousness amounting to a profound betrayal.
For years their cry was, “The immigrants are rapidly assimilating, the immigrants share our conservative values.” This wasn’t based on any concrete reality, it was just slogans combined with a superficial manipulation of social science data. Yet it served its purpose, which was to stifle any serious discussion of the immigration issue in the conservative camp. Then, when it became apparent that the immigrants were not assimilating and were not conservatives, the conservatives instantaneously turned around and said we must accommodate ourselves to the immigrants’ liberalism and their lack of assimilation. In the Orwellian manner of Communists supporting the Hitler-Stalin pact, the conservatives’ radical turnaround didn’t take five seconds. They instantly gave up their former position and adopted the opposite position. The upshot is that the conservatives, instead of defending America from unassimilable immigration, and instead of defending conservatism from liberalism, helped open America’s doors to unassimilable immigration and surrendered conservatism to liberalism.
When you combine this with the conservatives’ acquiescent response to the Grutter decision which violated their supposedly sacred priciple of individual rights, you have a complete picture of intellectual betrayal.
However, just to qualify slightly David’s remarks about David Frum’s article, Frum didn’t exactly praise the president. He said that Bush was forced by political prudence to move left in a political environment which has unexpectedly become more liberal. It’s become more liberal for four reasons, one of which is that, as Frum delicately puts it, “Hispanics are voting their interests rather than their values. Hispanics as a group are culturally conservative, but economically needy. Their values suggest that they ought to vote Republican—but their hopes for more government aid are pushing them toward the Democrats.”
In other words, Frum is telling us, the fact that actually existing Hispanics vote liberal does not alter the conservative theory that Hispanics are conservative. Thus Frum can support Bush’s moves to the left to accommodate the actually existing liberalism of actually existing Hispanics, even as Frum refuses to admit that he and his fellow conservatives’ assurances about the “true” conservative nature of Hispanics were false from the start.
Frum is simply following the first rule of government work, which must be the same in Canada as here: never admit a mistake.
The ‘hispanic cultural conservatism’ line is simply a lie, whether from the lips of Bush or Frum, at least when talking about Latin Americans who have invited themselves here. Who knows what they do at home. If one accepts illegitimacy rates as important indicia of social conservatism, hispanics in the United States are not socially conservative overall. Their illegitimacy rates fall between those of white Americans (which are growing) and black Americans (which are catastrophically high). Among teenagers, the hispanic rate may even be higher than the black.
Coming from countries with authoritarian traditions of dominance by central governments (when the government has enough power to dominate; the usual alternative is anarchic local kleptocracy) and bringing social pathologies with them, hispanic immigrants naturally look to government for help. In American terms, they are instinctive Democrats. HRS
Just a short note: I believe that one of the considerations that drives that wing of the Republican party which advocates increased third-world immigration is precisely that it pushes the nation, and hence, the party which wishes to adapt to reality, further to the left. The only issues they want off the table - sacrosanct - are trade, economics, and foreign policy. What’s missing? The social issues, the issues that actually define the content and character of our civilization, or what remains of it. Move the nation left, and those are the first and most obvious of the issues which will have to be minimized, marginalized, or simply declared taboo. Anyone, in theory, can wish to be richer, and so support Republican tax policy. Anyone can, in theory, support a robust defense of American security and global interests. Those are, in the end, more problems of method or technique than ethical substance, at least to those operating on such assumptions. Social issues, implicating as they do those areas of life which the robed masters have decreed to constitute the “sweet mystery of life” are the causes of vociferous divisions, are so unseemly.
They want us to shut up and move to the back of the bus. Immigration slowly and inexorably forces the issue.
My point in bringing up the war was simply to point out that due to the conservative split on the question of the Iraq war, anyone with strong views on the war on terror who wants to vote third party will have to consider what message they will be sending by whichever candidate they choose to support.
The “attack Bush for being too liberal” camp is split between those who see his prosecution of the war on terror (specifically the fact that he is engaging foreign governments in war, not just the terrorist organizations per se) as an example of his liberalism and those who see it as a conservative act, and therefore an exception to his liberalism (or those who think that he is not conservative enough because he should be pursuing foreign governments more aggressively).
If people do want to vote for a right-wing third party candidate, then the vote will either have to be split between pro-war and anti-war third party conservative candidates, or one side may have to support a candidate whose position on the war on terror is the opposite of theirs. Based on the right-wing third party candidates from 2000 (Buchanan, Phillips, and Browne), it seems more likely to me that the pro-war conservatives would be the ones who would need to compromise, unless there is a pro-war third party candidate out there that I am unaware of.
Thanks to Mr. Auster and Mr. Sutherland for their comments. For years, “conservatives” have been saying, “People of all colors share our values.” Seven or eight years ago, I heard Michael Medved saying exactly that while guest-hosting the Rush Limbaugh show. Another time I saw a column by Peggy Noonan in the WSJ where she wrote, “Immigrants are basically conservative.”
Don’t forget how Bill Kristol and William Bennett made a special trip to California to denounce Proposition 187 in 1994. Now, Kristol reports that the hispanic vote is a liberal strong point.
Bush is moving to the left? Let’s see – in recent weeks the President has advocated a constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage and probably prevent states from recognizing civil unions as well. He signed a bill banning dilation and extraction abortions. He has consistently pushed an economic agenda that favors wealthy investors at the expense of middle class workers, who exist only to provide cheap labor. His “immigration reform” is nothing but a guest worker program designed to allow the wealthy to get cheap live-in housekeepers. Where do you see “left”?
It is one of the peculiarities of modern liberalism that liberals such as Maha do not see support for open borders as a LIBERAL policy. As long as the policy involves some recognition of free enterprise, then it is “conservative” in their eyes, even right-wing. Thus we could have open borders, globalization, the elimination of all historic nations and cultures, and people like Maha would complain that these things are all the work of “conservatives.”
Here is a variation on the same theme, from a correspondent of mine: “He’s [Bush] funding religion, working against abortion, going to back a marriage amendment, privatizing the welfare state, fighting a war for Western Civilization, making the conservative party the permanent majority party, etc.
Folks who can’t see past Mexicans to that are too racist to be considered conservatives.”
The cogency of this argument is quite a thing to behold, eh?
“It is one of the peculiarities of modern liberalism that liberals such as Maha do not see support for open borders as a LIBERAL policy.”
But it’s not an open border policy. It’s a guest worker program. And I’m not all-fired in favor of an open border, anyway.
>As long as the policy involves some recognition of free enterprise, then it is “conservative” in their eyes, even right-wing.
That makes no sense at all, but beside the point.
>Thus we could have open borders, globalization, the elimination of all historic nations and cultures, and people like Maha would complain that these things are all the work of “conservatives.”
That still makes no sense at all, and is still beside the point. You didn’t answer my question. What is it about Bush’s recent positions that makes him appear to be moving to the “left”? If anything, he just keeps going further and further “right.”
I’m not sure if Mr. Cella’s correspondent is a self-described liberal or conservative. Either way, he believes that a plan to legalize all illegal aliens and open America to everyone in the world who can underbid an American for a job, and with no credible enforcement procedures in place, is so self-evidently a good policy that it is beyond such categories as liberal or conservative, and anyone who opposes it is simply a racist who is outside legitimate political categories. In the view of Mr. Cella’s correspondent, the total openness, the total trashing of our laws, and the total non-discrimination embodied in the Bush proposal cannot be considered as liberal or leftist since the proposal is simply identical with common sense and goodness, a goodness shared (presumably) by all decent conservatives and liberals, while opponents of the measure are outside politics and deserving of no consideration in the debate at all.
Thus the most radical measure in the history of the country has been removed from politics.
Since Maha doesn’t seem to understand why I (and even many mainstream conservatives) consider the Bush “temporary workers” proposal a transparent fraud and in reality an open-borders proposal, she (or he) could go to our archive pages (the link is on the main page) and start browsing in the many articles I posted about the Bush proposal beginning in early January.
“Since Maha doesn’t seem to understand why I (and even many mainstream conservatives) consider the Bush “temporary workers” proposal a transparent fraud”
But, in fact, I agree that it is a transparent fraud. You aren’t addressing my question.
“and in reality an open-borders proposal,”
It’s a guest worker program, and (here comes a clue) I know of no liberals who like it or approve of it.
“she (or he) could go to our archive pages (the link is on the main page) and start browsing in the many articles I posted about the Bush proposal beginning in early January.”
You cannot answer a simple question. Bush is NOT moving further to the “left” by any reasonable measure. It may be that he is proposing policies that you don’t like, but he is not moving to the “left.” And I’m a she.
Maha wrote: “It’s a guest worker program, and (here comes a clue) I know of no liberals who like it or approve of it.” There can easily be two very different perceptions of the program by liberals. First, liberal and leftist politicians are incapable of liking one of Bush’s policies, because it is their job to disagree with him, for partisan reasons. Thus, their immediate reaction was to say that the proposal “does not go far enough.” They have to find a way to tell their base that they are different than Bush, but their proposals are only marginally different from Bush’s proposal. That should tell you something. Where Bush has been truly conservative, such as on cutting taxes, the counter-proposals were not just marginally different.
Secondly, the average liberal voter could react negatively to Bush’s program because he mistakenly thinks it is a “guest-worker” program such as exists in Germany and a few other countries, in which a large pool of workers are encouraged to work hard but remain forever second-class non-citizens. If they understood that this could never be permitted in the long term in this country and will eventually lead to first-class citizenship, and if they understood terms like “anchor baby”, they would know that it is NOT a guest worker program and their liberal objections are ill-founded.
Maha has, I believe, a point in arguing that there is nothing really liberal about Bush, occasional verbal feints, and his obsession with importing peons, aside. Unfortunately, there is nothing conservative about him either, unless you conceive of conservatism as simply pandering to what is supposed to be the interests of big business and the wealthy. Maha may think that is conservatism, but the rest of us do not; nor are we likely to be fooled by Bush’s feints to the right, either. That opposition to the pretense that a relationship between homosexuals is “marriage” is now thought to be conservative shows how insane our culture is, not how conservative Bush is.
Clark wrote “There can easily be two very different perceptions of the program by liberals. First, liberal and leftist politicians are incapable of liking one of Bush’s policies, because it is their job to disagree with him, for partisan reasons. Thus, their immediate reaction was to say that the proposal “does not go far enough.” “
There may have been some leftists (not liberals; they are not always the same thing) who said that the proposal does not go far enough, but on the whole the reaction from most liberals was that it was a stealth proposal to bring in cheap laborers and further devalue wages for the benefit of corporations. Also, conventional wisdom said that it was a scheme by Karl Rove to get the Latino votes.
Further, I know a whole lot of liberals and I never heard a single one speak in favor of “open borders.” That is not to say you can’t find some oddball somewhere arguing in favor of it, but it’s a minority view.
“They have to find a way to tell their base that they are different than Bush, but their proposals are only marginally different from Bush’s proposal. That should tell you something.”
Democrats in Congress have been a bunch of appeasing weenies for lo these three years. That may soon change. However, this has nothing to do with “leftist” or “liberal” points of view, and everything to do with the spineless wimps in Congress who kowtow to the Right.
“Where Bush has been truly conservative, such as on cutting taxes, the counter-proposals were not just marginally different.”
There is NOTHING conservative about Bush’s tax policies. They are extremely radical. Right wing, but radical nonetheless. “Radical conservative” is an oxymoron; the correct term is usually “reactionary.”
“Secondly, the average liberal voter could react negatively to Bush’s program because he mistakenly thinks it is a “guest-worker” program such as exists in Germany and a few other countries, in which a large pool of workers are encouraged to work hard but remain forever second-class non-citizens.”
It pretty much looks that way to me, yes.
“If they understood that this could never be permitted in the long term in this country”
And why not? Because we’re all so “liberal”? Ha.
” and will eventually lead to first-class citizenship, and if they understood terms like “anchor baby”, they would know that it is NOT a guest worker program and their liberal objections are ill-founded.”
Since you don’t know “liberal” from “spinach,” I will keep my own counsel as to what is ill-founded or not.
As I suspected, you can’t tell me why Bush is moving to the “left” because you don’t know what “left” actually is.
I humbly defer to Mr. Auster’s comments on my questions about VFR visitors’ and writers’ possible positions on the Iraq war. Though not to appear overly defensive, Mr. Auster, I must say that I was simply responding to Michael Jose’s February 18, 3:08 am comment:
“In the interests of full disclosure, I do not personally see this as a downside, being anti-war myself, but obviously a large number of posters on this board would.”
It was not my intent to make others “uncomfortable” about their positions. Moreover, I did not even hint at my position on the subject. I was simply taking Mr. Jose’s statement to the next (logical) level—with some embellishment, I admit.
Bush is not a liberal? It seems like he has supported some pretty liberal policies.
Let’s take the prescription drug bill. I’ll admit upfront that there is a significant corporate welfare component to it—but that doesn’t make it more “conservative,” just sleazy. And there is a significant social welfare component to it (subsidized prescription drug coverage).
The prescription drug bill truly is radical legislation. In 2023, it is expected to cost $190 billion if the artificial “donut hole” in coverage somehow remains, $360 billion if the “donut hole” is closed. Note that today’s budget totals about $2300 billion, so a $360 billion increase—even on a say, $3000 billion budget in 20 years—is quite substantial, especially consdering that there are other rising Medicare and Social Security costs. The benefit could easily account for 10 to 15 percent of the future tax burden, which for someone making in the range of $50K-$100K could be thousands of dollars per year, no small cost.
Bush has also stabbed conservatives in the back on affirmative action. The brief his administration filed, even if adopted, would do nothing to stop nominally race neutral (but effectively discriminatory) policies such as the Texas Top Ten Percent Plan and the University of California’s Comprehensive Review process. After the decision came down in favor of AA for “diversity,” Bush praised it.
Also, Bush’s guest worker/de facto amnesty program is liberal/leftist. Yes it will benefit some businesses, but it will come at the cost of a much higher middle and especially upper-middle class tax burden. In California in 1994, immigration already had a net cost of $1200 per California household, according to the National Academy of Sciences. With a much greater unskilled immigrant population plus inflation, we could easily be talking $2000-$2500 per household today. The guest worker/de facto amnesty program will only makes these costs greater.
Mere support of today’s immigration policy is liberal/leftist. A vastly disproportionate number of immigrants under current policy are poor, unskilled, and taxpayer-dependent, as well as leftist themselves (Hispanics voted 62-35 against Bush in 2000 in spite of his many leftist positions and pandering). Mass unskilled immigration is changing America’s class structure in favor of poverty, and changing its culture in favor of socialism, authoritarianism, multiculturalism, and multilingualism. A true conservative would support an end to mass unskilled immigration, and enforcement against illegal immigration to stop these very un-conservative changes.
I think it is very difficult to argue that Bush is anything but a big government socialist. In three years his “never saw a spending bill I didn’t like” attitude has managed to screw up our budget so badly that it will take 5 years to get HALF way out of the hole he has dug. And after that, Prescription Drug spending is going to explode in our face like a trick cigar. And then there are other matters like 20,000 new TSA Federal employees, a 40% expansion of the Fed Department of Education, ungodly farm welfare and of course immigration.
I am actually not convinced that immigration is a conservative or liberal issue. With 75 to 80% of the American public wanting illegal immigration stopped and wanting overall immigration rates reduced, the issue obviously cuts across the political spectrum which is suppossedly divided 50/50. I view the issue as a betrayal of the American public coming from both sides. It is an unholy alliance between greedy big business RINO Republicans wanting unlimited cheap labor and liberals who want to expand their base of poor voters that will vote socialist. In the long-run the greedy RINOs (along with the American taxpayers) are going to get the worst of the deal as they will find themselves permanently in the minority and out of power.
While I see things to admire about Bush, I am extremely angry about his socialistic tendencies and furious about the immigration betrayal. It gives me great pleasure to stuff the many postage paid envewlopes I get from the GOP with nasty letters castigating him on both counts and threatening him with withholding my vote. But at the end of the day I am going to hold my nose and vote for GWB. Given everthing I despise about Bush, I think Kerry will be worse on every count.
For me, my decision is all about Supreme Court Judges! I don’t have much faith that GWB will chose good nominees but I know that I would not like a court packed by John Kerry.
I don’t see what Jack K admires about Bush, but he is welcome to “hold his nose” like so many so-called conservatives I know here and vote in November for Bush.
However, I am not to let Jack K get away with saying the following without responding:
“While I see great things about him (Bush) that I admire, I am extremely angry about his socialistic tendencies and furious about his immigration betrayal. But at the ene of the day, I’m going to hold my nose and vote for GWB. My decision is all about Supreme Court Justices!”
There is nothing “redeeming” about Bush. He has betrayed his base—the people who put him over the top—and he will flood this country with even more illegals if he’s re-elected. How do you know Kerry wouldn’t appoint a fair-minded judge? Has Bush appointed any conservative judges? He’s been too busy with other things and the Demos—even though the GOP controls all three areas of government—have been able to stop his nominees for other judicial positions. He has steadfastly refused to fire anyone in his admininstration. He’s kept two Clinton holdovers, three if you count Mineta. Tenet and Muller and look what a botched job those two have done! One got us into Iraq, the other refuses to go after the Mosques and had plenty of warning about 9/11 but didn’t listen.
GWB is about as liberal as his father and look who his father put on the bench—a total idiot lefty named Souter, who was supposed to be a conservative! Bush will play the pc game and nominate a Latino judge for any opening in the Supremes. There isn’t one Latino judge that he likes who is a conservative. Judge Moore would be an excellent choice, but he’s too controversial for Bush.
No, voting for Bush even though you hate his policies and record (the horrible economy since March 2000, 9/11, deficit spending) is a suicidal position to take. As I said, there is nothing of redeeming value about the man. Jack K says he’s “angry, furious” at Bush, but he can’t/won’t take the next step and back it up with action.
Perhaps Mr. Auster, Mr. Sutherland or Mr. LeFevre can tell me which 20th Century Democrat presidents intentionally nominated conservative or Republican Supreme Court justices, if at all. I’d be curious to know if any one Democrat president did such a thing.
In addition to Medicare, Bush has INCREASED the size of the National Debt by 25 percent! (in three years!!). 25 Percent of the US National Debt has been accumulated in thee years of Bush ($2 Trillion of Pork)!!! When you add that to his Amnesty Program and his sellout on Affirmative Action, its a complete disaster. To argue otherwise is live a delusion. I cant see how anyone can defend that record.