Tuesday, May 09, 2006
On a substantive basis, I started to sour on Bush a while ago. I didn't like his keeping American troops dying in Iraq past the point at which we got rid of Hussein and verified there were no WMDs. I haven't liked his inaction (nothing but talk, talk, talk) on dealing with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. I didn't like his hundred-plus billion dollar pledge to rebuild New Orleans. I didn't like his nominating Harriet Miers. I don't like his "it's not really an amnesty" amnesty for illegal immigrants. I disagreed with both his support for creating the Department of Homeland Security and for the bureaucracy-building overhaul of our nation's intelligence agencies. I didn't like his half-hearted support for eliminating racial and sex-based preferences. I didn't like that he didn't do more to lower tax rates. I didn't like his support for such huge increases in federal (non-defense) spending.
And if the above wasn't enough, I was oh-so-disappointed with the way Bush went about doing his job. His team has to be one of the more incompetent in recent memory. McClellan was a disaster as Press Secretary, failing to mount even the semblance of a coherent response to the constant lies and attacks coming from the Democrats. He botched the whole build-up to the Iraq invasion, first by letting Colin Powell waste time 'cultivating our allies' in the UN and Europe, then by adding so many silly - and unneeded - justifications for invading Iraq. Rove and Libby botched the whole counter-attack to Joe Wilson's lies, so much so that they are the ones in trouble with the law. He brought in Porter Goss to shake things up at the CIA, then forced Goss out for shaking things up.
Well, it looks like a whole bunch of other conservatives have stopped drinking the kool-aid and are no longer supporting Bush. And, like me, they've stopped supporting Bush not because he is too-conservative, but rather because he isn't conservative enough.
Does Bush care?
Me thinks not. Bush is doing what he is doing because he thinks it the right thing to do. His stubborness makes it impossible for anyone to convince him he is doing the wrong thing, whether it be on Iraq, on immigration, or on deficit spending. In fact, he probably views our dislike of his policies and programs to be a shortcoming on our part and not indicative of the need for him to change what he is doing and trying to do.
So since he is not going to change what he is doing, what should we unhappy conservatives do? Should we stay at home this fall in protest, even though doing so may result in the Democrats taking over one or both Houses of Congress? Or should we hold our nose and show up and vote, even though Bush would take our doing so as a sign that he really doesn't need to pay attention to us?
The answer, I am afraid, is that we need to show up and vote GOP. We're stuck with Bush in the White House for another two years, and while there is no realistic hope that Bush will 're-discover' conservative principles, there is a serious threat that more Democrats on Capitol Hill will actually cause him to act even more unconservative than he has been. It was bad enough when the GOP had control of both Houses of Congress and Bush went and did things a good liberal would be proud of... imagine how bad he could be with fewer Republicans around to provide some restraint.
Imagine immigration reform without even the pretense of increasing border security. Imagine even more prostrating ourselves at the altar of the United Nations trying to build international support for dealing with Iran. Imagine even bigger increases in federal spending. Imagine Bush resubmitting Harriet Miers, Harry Reid's favorite Supreme Court nominee. Imagine even more money and less accountability going to the public schools.
Yes, Virginia, it could be whole lot worse if Bush isn't provided with adult supervision. And while the current cast of GOP characters sure haven't been acting like adults, we have to face the fact that they are a whole lot better than the Democrats looking to take over.