2005/02/01

Conservative Criticism & Bush Agenda

The following is excerpted from an article by Dick Polman. Hopefully, these bits will encourage you to follow the link and read it in it's entirety..

"The dissent and unease is growing," says Doug Bandow, who was an aide in the Reagan White House. "I can see it in my own church, a conservative evangelical church. People come up and say to me, `I'm glad we're having that (Iraqi) election, because then we've got to leave.' Or, `We got rid of Saddam; let's declare victory and go.' A lot of them are retired military, and I didn't hear that a year ago. That talk will start percolating up to the elected Republican officials."

Michael Desch, an ex-State Department official who writes for conservative magazines and teaches at the George Bush School at Texas A&M, says "all this happy talk about democratizing the world, which built to a crescendo in the president's second inaugural, has rubbed a lot of conservatives the wrong way. It's another expansion of big government, and we have to oppose that, just as we opposed big government liberalism during the '60s.

"Iraq was completely unnecessary. The president is in danger of overreaching, the way conservatives did during the Newt Gingrich era. My party has not always been very good at dealing with victory."

Rich Lowry, who edits National Review, paints the dissenters as "cowboys without cattle. They have little public support, and a naive view of the world. The poisons of the world reached out and killed 3,000 people (on Sept. 11, 2001). They don't seem to appreciate that." Yet his former boss, National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., said recently: "If I knew (in 2002) what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war." Lowry won't comment on Buckley.

Buckley's anxieties are shared by Tucker Carlson, the bow-tied conservative pundit, who says he is "ashamed" of his initial support for a war that he now calls "a total nightmare and disaster."

Marshall Wittmann, former lobbyist for the Christian Coalition and a close observer of conservative politics, says: "This debate had been suppressed within the ranks, because of support for a Republican president. Now, with no weapons of mass destruction found, and with the war more difficult than anticipated, all the tensions are coming to the fore."

But even pro-war conservatives are faulting Bush for a failure to communicate; amid the grim war news, they say, it's not enough for him to simply keep insisting that "we're making progress" and that "freedom is on the march."

Robinson, the Reagan speechwriter, says: "When you ask people to take casualties, you really have to bring them along. Franklin Roosevelt, on radio, explained things in great detail. Churchill was in the House of Commons every day, providing great detail. We're not getting that from this president. I don't get it."

But Christopher Preble, a Navy veteran of the 1991 Gulf War who directs foreign policy at the conservative Cato Institute, cites the ongoing downside - an average of two slain soldiers a day, and $2 billion a week - and offers this warning to the president:

"Conservatives were sold on the assumption that it wouldn't be long and costly. Now we're paying for it in taxpayer dollars and paying with our lives. ... He can talk about doing other things - (curbing) abortion, reforming Social Security - but the war is where the rubber meets the road. If he truly feels he has a mandate for this, he's in for a rude awakening."

CentreDaily.com



6 Comments:

Two minor things:

1) Eww... there's a Bush School at Texas S&M?! Wow. I wonder what they teach there--how to be a drunk bastard all through college and still become one of the most powerful people in the world?

2) Interesting that Tucker Carlson's changing his point of view on the war. I remember him never backing down on Crossfire before he was fired by CNN and Jon Stewart. Good times...

Thanks for the article, Dianne. I'll read it when I'm home from school and perhaps comment. 

Posted by StarchyBean
2/01/2005 03:47:00 pm  
This debate has been ongoing among Republicans privately for a while now, but has been largely hidden from citizen view (mostly due to large swaths of media owned by neo-con supporters.) It is encouraging to see acknowledgment of it from the press now - this gives hope to all of us who asked for a more open debate before the war - and bodes well for our country, because the suppression of dissent is the antithesis of democracy. It is a fascist tactic, for the Administration to attempt to silence these Republicans. 

Posted by Sarah
2/01/2005 05:09:00 pm  
This is what happens when conservatives do not know the real agendas of their leaders and repeat like parrots what they say and agree with no rational questioning with what their leaders want to do. A real conservative should be again intervening in the foreign affais of independent countries. For some reason (ignorance) most of them have followed a pathway totally against their own beliefs. This was my rationale for creating the quiz for the right-wingers, to see if they are classical conservatives or neocon fascists, to help them out with their political naiveness. 

Posted by Dr. Marco
2/01/2005 05:12:00 pm  
All administrations seek to silence the dissent of opposing parties...both Democrat and Republican. The party in power attempts to push it's agenda through at all costs.

What may surprise some supporters of Bush is that although he pandered to the religious right during his campaigns, he, for the most part, ignored the social conservative agenda during his first term and is sending very mixed signals about supporting during his second.

His foreign policy and his administration's take on constitutional liberties may leave much to be desired, but he has yet to take America on a very hard turn to the right. I think in many ways he sympathizes more with the middle of the road Senate than the hard right House of Representatives.

I watched him on C-Span the other night. He is no dummy, and I think he is more of a moderate than many give him credit for. (At this point I am washing my keyboard out with soap!)

He is a politician first, as any leader must be (Jacques Chirac pandered to the will of his people when the Iraq war started), but after watching him in an unscripted interview which didn't leave nuch room for "sound bites", I am coming to the realization that, although he may have other views, he wants only to adjust American social policy more towards the center... 

Posted by Buckwheat
2/02/2005 01:21:00 am  
Buckwheat, I disagree with you that "all administrations seek to silence the dissent of opposing parties." While all political parties when in power attempt to push their own agenda, that is normal democracy behavior. Of course they do. But there are many politicians, both Democrat and Republican, who are willing to work together - who understand the benefits of compromise, as I pointed out in the post It's Our Party Too. But to attempt to control the media, to character-assassinate or out CIA agents in order to shut people up, to authorize the torture and abuse of prisoners, to create policy for personal gain, and to lie with the consequence of thousands of deaths? No, not all Administrations have done that, and most certainly not to this degree. For really the only difference between a Conservative and a Fascist, is one of degree. It is a critical difference however.

It doesn't surprise me that Bush is saying one thing and doing another - he knows perfectly well what will and will not succeed with the majority of Americans -at least what they know about. However if he indeed is such a moderate as you say, then he must have very little clout within his own party. Do you think that is true? I don't.

I am mystified as to why you believe that the country was somehow on a left-leaning course that now can be "adjusted" to the right. Clinton was certainly not "left," he was most definitely center, and in some respects quite conservative. And remember that the country's culture is not the same thing as it's government. If the country is on a liberal course, then it simply is so... the people make up that culture and literally create it every day. Also remember that some politicians know that and work within the framework of the society that elected them. Whether scripted or unscripted, Bush's words do not mean much anyway. What I give weight to are actions. And his actions have been anything but moderate. 

Posted by Sarah
2/02/2005 03:07:00 am  
And what will happen if "our guy" doesn't win the iraqi election? this administration only want democracy if it's their vision of democracy. hopefully though, the new iraqi administration will order us out, then bush's true colors will come shining through. 

Posted by angiekruger
2/02/2005 02:24:00 pm  

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