Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Bush Is A Nominal Conservative

When it comes to governing, he's not a practicing conservative

With a few exceptions, I have been disappointed with President Bush's policies. His presidency is turning into one big disappointment. His focus on securing the Republican party's position as the permanent governing party is a case of misplaced priorities. I was planning a detailed post on this, but I just don't have time and Robert Samuelson sums it up pretty well:
Spend more; tax less. That's a brazen political strategy, not a serious governing philosophy. A flimsy rationalization is that the resulting budget deficits don't immediately harm the economy. This is true. At present levels, the deficits are not as harmful as many critics contend. But note the paradox of using this as an excuse for jettisoning budget discipline. Bush has significantly raised future federal spending -- especially the exploding cost when baby boomers retire. Because that spending must ultimately be covered by larger deficits (which could be dangerous) or higher taxes (which could also harm the economy), the prospects for both have increased. A president who boasts of lower taxes is actually laying the groundwork for the opposite.

Now, with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, even Republican members of Congress say that borrowing should not pay for all the added costs. The White House agrees but scorns one obvious step, repealing the Medicare drug benefit, that would make a big difference. The outlook is for tokenism. Just what conservative values Bush's approach embodies is unclear. He has not tried to purge government of ineffective or unneeded programs. He has not been straightforward with the public. He has not shown a true regard for the future. He has mostly been expedient or, more pointedly, cynical.
And he wants conservatives to trust his judgment on Harriet Miers?

I'll have more to say on this subject sometime in the future.


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