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Is it time for conservatives to leave the Republican Party?

By Keith D. Cummings
web posted October 10, 2005

To say that President Bush's appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has upset his conservative base is rather like saying that Jerry Lewis has raised a couple of bucks for Muscular Dystrophy over the years. The Bush pick of a toadying lickspittle to serve on the highest court in the land, when a mere 20 or 30 million more qualified individuals wait has conservatives up in arms.

While Bush apologists like Mary Matlin and Sean Hannity tell us that we need to "trust the President," and the President tells us that he "knows [Miers'] heart," conservatives are asking, "Why have I been supporting you?" We don't want to trust that you know her heart. We want a paper trail, opinions in writing over the course of a career to show us her mind.

In his nearly five years in office, the President has punted on nearly every challenge that came to him. If you doubt that claim, just look at the facts:

  • To appease Ted Kennedy, Bush pushed through the "No Child Left Behind" Act. This piece of high-spending legislation violates the very essence of Federalism, giving the Federal government more control over public schools and doling out billions in largesse. What happened to vouchers, Mr. President?
  • To appease every greedy old man and woman in America, Bush passed the "No Dollar Left Unspent" Medicare Prescription drug bill. Claiming that it would only cost $400 billion over 10 years, the price tag on this debacle has already exceeded twice that and will undoubtedly go higher. Still, hands off George's give-away to the oldsters.
  • To ensure that the politburo we call Congress can have re-election rates that would make any despotic politico in the third world drool, the President signed the highway, farm and energy bills. The Smithfield farms that produce those delicious Virginia hams haven't seen this much pork pass through them, ever!
  • With the possibility that some money may still make it into the people's bank accounts and 401-Ks, Bush has proposed to hand over nearly $250 billion dollars to rebuild a festering cesspool of a city that shouldn't have been allowed to remain where it was. Katrina was a tragedy, but anyone who built in the flood plane in the last fifty or so years knew what they were getting into. It's not the responsibility of the American people to pick up the tab for irresponsible home and business construction.
  • The President punted on his constitutional responsibility when he chose to "let the courts decide" on the Campaign Finance Reform bill. He admitted that he thought the bill was Unconstitutional, but he refused his veto pen.
  • When the best and brightest have been nominated to the courts, Bush has refused to do anything to help them. Miguel Estrada, Charles Pickering, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, the list goes on and on. Bush did nominate them, to his credit, but he did nothing to support them once they were nominated. He didn't rally the troops behind the nomination and he's not pressing his advantage.

The President isn't the only problem the Republicans have. Tom Delay now famously declared the budget devoid of fat. Trent Lott and Bill Frist have both failed to keep the party members faithful. The last true leader (and last true conservative) the Republicans had in Washington was Newt Gingrich. Since he left in 2001, it's been all down hill.

Had Bill Clinton come to the nation with a crony like Bob Bennett or Bill Shrum, we, the conservatives, would have been up in arms, and rightly so. There are thousands of qualified lawyers, on and off the court. There is absolutely no excuse for appointing a confidant to the post. The only thing that would have been worse would have been the President appointing his brother. Instead, we're left with Souter in a skirt, another Bush appointed stealth candidate ready and able to "grow into her position."

Since the days of Ronald Reagan, conservatives have asserted that a principled conservative government could make American stronger at home and abroad. Reagan wouldn't have tolerated the spendthrift policies of the Republican controlled Congress. His veto pen would be out of ink. Bush's veto pen has gone dry from total lack of use.

For years, conservatives have been told, "trust us, it won't all happen at once, but it will happen." After five years of a Republican White House and Republican control of both houses of Congress, it hasn't happened at all. In fact, since George W. Bush took office, America has become worse by every measurable conservative standard.

Many have pointed out that the Democrats take their black constituents for granted. "What have they really done for you?" blacks are asked. Well, conservatives, I'm asking. What have the Republicans done for you? The answer: nothing. Maybe it's time to take our ball and go home.

Keith D. Cummings is the author of Opening Bell, a political / financial thriller. His website is http://www.keith-cummings.com.

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