Fiscal responsibility, toughness on security issues, and strong leadership are at the core of a platform that has twice elected the Bush administration - and the mantra for conservatives everywhere. In recent years, any sign of weakness on these matters earns the deviant an automatic badge: liberal.
Fiscal responsibility. Former Reagan economist, Bruce Bartlett, scorches Bush in his new book, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. Bartlett even states that the conservatives archenemy Bill Clinton employed more conservative principles than the current administration. After all, the Clinton years did come closer to balancing the budget than his immediate predecessors.
If it is a liberal trait not to spend within your means, this administration is somewhere to the political left of Marx and Lenin. The overall national debt of the United States is now $8 trillion and growing. Fiscal year 2006 and years throughout the end of this decade are expected to add at least another $600 billion to the national debt each year.
Continually blaming the September 11th attacks and the War Against Terrorism for mushrooming deficits cannot be used into perpetuity. More and more conservatives are not agreeable to spending ourselves into oblivion before we even have time to round up a fraction of potential terrorists.
There is no end in sight to spiraling spending deficits, in part, because this President has never vetoed any legislation not once. The administration approves of all spending increases and tax cuts, no matter how they wreck our economy. In 1881 James Garfield was the last president to avoid vetoing a single Congressional bill. He had a pretty good excuse - Garfield was assassinated after only six months in office. In eight years of office, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan each vetoed 78 bills. Even Bush Senior stopped 44 bills dead in their tracks while president. George W. Bushs score is zero for five years and counting.
Toughness on security issues. If any one issue defeated John Kerry in the 2004 election, it was this one. All of the polls showed more Americans felt safer with George W. Bush than John Kerry.
The swagger and image of toughness suddenly evaporated, though, when the President confounded his own Republican supporters by insisting our country hire a United Arab Emirates (UAE) owned company to control six major sea ports on the U.S. coastline. Though our ports have been judged to be highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks by experts, the President has threatened to veto any attempted legislation to block the UAE from running these facilities.
Wait a minute, the President finally gets charged up enough to dust off his veto pen and the occasion is to put a suspicious Arab country in charge of our ports?
In case you have forgotten, two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE. Also, a recent U.S. Coast Guard report stated that it could not determine, whether a United Arab Emirates-based company seeking a stake in some U.S. port operations might support terrorist operations.
The few in Congress who support this deal with the UAE say overturning it would be bad for the economy. Hmmm.
Strong leader-ship. The investigation of the Hurricane Katrina disaster will prove to be just one more example of liberals gone amok, right? There is plenty of blame to go around but no other way to spin the Presidents performance: he would be hard-pressed to have been a weaker leader.
Prior to the hurricanes arrival, FEMA officials held a videoconference for Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. This briefing is scathing evidence that the administration ignored warnings on the catastrophe that would result if levee breaks in New Orleans occurred.
Later, according to Bush supporter and TV pundit Joe Scarborough, the Presidents staff felt the need to show the vacationing Bush a prepared DVD of TV news coverage of the hurricane disaster. Apparently, the president still wasnt up to speed on what the rest of America knew New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast population was underwater and dying.
My idea of strong leadership is closer to the example of Rudy Giuliani, marching around at ground zero shortly after the September 11 attacks, helping where he could. The New York mayor held a press conference each day after the crisis for weeks to reassure the public. Giuliani had little need to be briefed, he did the briefing.
There you have it. Is President Bush too liberal to be running our country? You be the judge.