Excerpts from the conservative newspaper The Business highlight why traditional conservatives are so unhappy with Bush’s performance.
…This newspaper is second to none in its pro-American sentiments; in the early Bush years it devoted much ink to defending the President against the often malevolent and ignorant attacks of a congenitally anti-American European media. But we know a lost cause when we see one: the longer President Bush occupies the White House the more it becomes clear that his big-government domestic policies, his preference for Republican and business cronies over talented administrators, his lack of a clear intellectual compass and his superficial and often wrong-headed grasp of international affairs – all have done more to destroy the legacy of Ronald Reagan, a President who halted then reversed America’s post-Vietnam decline, than any left-liberal Democrat or European America-hater could ever have dreamed of. As one astute American conservative commentator has already observed, President Bush has morphed into the Manchurian Candidate, behaving as if placed among Americans by their enemies to do them damage.
…The damning charge against Mr Bush is that, instead of using the continued dominance of the right to finish the large amounts of uncompleted business from the Reagan revolution – sorting out the social security system, simplifying the tax code, tackling America’s abysmal primary and secondary schools, reforming corporate welfare with the same gusto as welfare for the poor was reformed, forging a new consensus to wage the war or terror – Mr Bush has failed in all these areas, and in some has taken America backwards.
There is now a distinctive fin de regime stink about Republican Washington. Karl Rove, the President’s eminence grise, has been called to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer’s name. The cronyism of Ms Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court is now the rule in DC, not the exception….
President Bush and his entourage are cultural conservatives, rather than radicals in the mould of Reagan, who was driven by his belief that freeing individuals and liberating the economy would produce a new and better society. The attitudes of Team Bush are driven more by upbringing, emotion and simple religious faith rather than an intellectual belief in the superiority of private action and the market economy. Instead of completing the Reagan revolution, which should have been Mr Bush’s historic mission, he is dangerously close to wrecking it. If the Republicans go down to defeat in the mid-term elections of 2006 and the presidential election of 2008, they will have only themselves to blame. But it is ordinary Americans who will pay the price for Mr Bush’s numerous follies.
via Barry Ritholtz