Worrying about "W"
By Alan Caruba
A lot of thoughtful conservatives are having serious second thoughts about George W. Bush. His failure to act upon core values of fiscal conservatism and sovereignty is a growing concern.
Donations to conservative organizations and think tanks are in sharp decline. A lot of conservatives have decided to stop giving financial support because they are losing faith in the ability of these groups to have any effect on administration policies.
Bush has an engaging personality, but he's not running for office anymore. He is already a very lame duck.
In concert with Republican party leaders in Congress, the White House has been unable to get its judicial appointments approved and the fight over John Bolton's appointment as UN ambassador suggests the party lacks unity on Capitol Hill. Bolton has been confirmed four times for previous positions. Unless the GOP can unite to overcome the obstructionism of the Democrats, it bodes ill for the party.
If conservatives stay home for the 2006 elections, power can shift to the Democrats.
People are increasingly worried about the huge budget deficit created by a President and a Congress that have been on a spending binge. The national debt has increased by $2.16 billion every day since September 30, 2004. It is now a cliché that Bush has not vetoed a single spending bill while in office. New "entitlements" added to Medicare for prescriptions will add still more to the rising tide of national debt. It is not "if" the economy will reach a tipping point this accumulated debt cannot be paid, but when.
Compounding fears is the appearance of an increasingly shaky economy that includes rising inflation and major corporations like General Motors in trouble. Wall Street is experiencing early tremors that forecast a bear market.
An issue reaching critical mass are the illegal immigrants flowing across our southern border. The assertion that they are necessary to do the work that Americans will not is nonsense. With the exception of the agricultural sector that has always depended on migrant workers, there are many jobs American workers would take if they weren't already being given to undocumented workers paid in cash. Illegal workers sent $20 billion dollars home to Mexico last year!
History will record that George W. Bush secured the liberation of the Iraqi people from one of the worst tyrants of modern times. Let us give him credit for that and for driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan. What rankles was the way the war was sold as an eminent threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction. I cannot think of a time this nation went to war on such poor intelligence. One gets the feeling, however, that the Bush administration has little faith in the intelligence of the American people.
Yet another distinctly un-conservative aspect of the Bush administration has been its approach to education. The "Leave No Child Behind" program has thrown billions at an already failed educational system. It is so awful that whole states are considering withdrawing from it. And the Bush administration is pushing for programs that would require all students to undergo mental health evaluations, thus opening the door to still more millions of them being required to take mind-altering drugs.
As Americans confront rising gasoline prices, they are wondering if we have an energy policy. There's scant evidence. It's nice the know Alaska's ANWR may be opened up to oil extraction, but this nation hasn't seen a new refinery built since the 1970's, down from 321 refineries in 1981 to146 now. Current refineries are running at 95% capacity and, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, they have to produce 45 "regional blends" of gasoline. It will be years before any oil starts to flow from ANWR. Meanwhile, other reserves of oil and coal are ruled off-limits to extraction and use.
Finally, under the Bush administration, the federal government remains hell bent on acquiring more and more of the nation's landmass. It's in cahoots with environmental organizations, offering them millions in federal funds, to assist in this travesty. There's even an "Invasive Species" bill floating around that would put the EPA in control of your front lawn. Why isn't the Bush administration out front on killing this monstrosity?
Does any of this sound like conservative policy to you? Does it worry you that the threat of terrorism is the sole reason given for almost any policy put forth by the White House since 9-11? If the Democrats ever get their act together, you and I are going to be talking about President Clinton, but referring to Hillary.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2005
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