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Bush's Base Wakes Up
Richard A. Viguerie writes in The Washington Post that the honeymoon is finally over:

Sixty-five months into Bush's presidency, conservatives feel betrayed. After the "Bridge to Nowhere" transportation bill, the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination and the Dubai Ports World deal, the immigration crisis was the tipping point for us. Indeed, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found last week that Republican disapproval of Bush's presidency had increased from 16 percent to 30 percent in one month. It is largely the defection of conservatives that is driving the president's poll numbers to new lows.

Emboldened and interconnected as never before by alternative media, such as talk radio and Internet blogs, many conservatives have concluded that the benefits of unwavering support for the GOP simply do not, and will not, outweigh the costs.

The main cause of conservatives' anger with Bush is this: He talked like a conservative to win our votes but never governed like a conservative.

For all of conservatives' patience, we've been rewarded with the botched Hurricane Katrina response, headed by an unqualified director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which proved that the government isn't ready for the next disaster. We've been rewarded with an amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. We've been rewarded with a war in Iraq that drags on because of the failure to provide adequate resources at the beginning, and with exactly the sort of "nation-building" that Candidate Bush said he opposed.

Republicans in Congress and at the White House seem oblivious to the rising threat of communist China and of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Despite the temporary appointment of conservative John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the current GOP leadership keeps shoveling money to the world body despite its refusal to change.

As for the Supreme Court, Bush's failed nomination of Miers, his personal lawyer, represented the breaking of what we took as an explicit promise to appoint more Antonin Scalias and Clarence Thomases, and it was an inexcusable act of cronyism.

Bush isn't the only one they're on to:

For years, congressional Republicans have sold themselves to conservatives as the continuation of the Reagan revolution. We were told that they would take on the Washington special interests -- that they would, in essence, tear down K Street and sow the earth with salt to make sure nothing ever grew there again.

But over time, most of them turned into the sort of unprincipled power brokers they had ousted in 1994. They lost interest in furthering conservative ideas, and they turned their attention to getting their share of the pork. Conservatives did not spend decades going door to door, staffing phone banks and compiling lists of like-minded voters so Republican congressmen could have highways named after them and so there could be an affirmative-action program for Republican lobbyists.

If you're a fiscal conservative who's also socially libertarian like me, you can't happily vote for a Democrat either. It's always the lesser of two weevils, as I like to say, until there's a viable third party.

Posted by aalkon at May 22, 2006 10:15 AM

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It's funny what pushes some people over the edge.

"Several Republican officials mired in ethical problems? Business as usual."

"The vice president shoots a guy on a hunting trip, and then doesn't tell anyone about it? Page-four news."

"The massive incompetence demonstrated by this presidency after Hurricane Katrina, which manifested itself in Americans starving to death live on national TV? Meh."

"Illegal domestic spying? Big whoop."

"Giving national port security away to Dubai? No big deal."

"But immigration reform? Hoo boy, that's just too much for us to handle. This Bush fella's got to go!"

I'm a lifelong conservative for the most part, and I was fed up with this presidency years ago.

Posted by: Gary S. at May 22, 2006 8:03 PM

How do you feel about the DLC?

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at May 22, 2006 11:39 PM

Are you asking if I, the sort of fellow Republican strategists have historically meant when they talk about "getting their base out," would now be receptive to the message of the Democratic Leadership Council? After studying up on their website, I'd have to say, "I dunno, but I'm willing to listen." I can expound on that if you'd like.

Posted by: Gary S. at May 24, 2006 12:55 AM

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