09/17/2005: I still cannot understand why Democrats are not high-fiving Dubya. With the exception of a few social issues–partial birth abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay marriage–he is the Second Coming of FDR.
His economic policies–even the tax cuts–are Keynesian all the way. His tax cuts had the same effect is spending programs in the Keynesian model: they increased economic activity. As for spending, he has taken that to levels that would have made LBJ and Hubert Humphrey blush (much to my chagrin!) His Prescription drug bill is merely an adoption of a Democrat idea.
By supporting the Department of Homeland Security, he reversed course, and merely co-opted an idea proposed by the Democrats. (Hillary Clinton even voted for the DHS–with FEMA under the umbrella.)
His education record includes unprecedented spending levels, and he even let Ted Kennedy craft the No Child Left Behind Act, which has John Dewey written all over it (again, much to my chagrin!)
On defense, he is spending less than FDR, LBJ, and Reagan. To date, he is fighting a war that the most prominent Democrat senators–such as Kerry, Hillary, and Biden–supported. (And that’s saying something: Kerry opposed Reagan throughout the Cold War, and even voted against Gulf War I.)
On relief to impoverished nations, Bush has done more for Africa than any American President in history. (Even Bob Geldoff–of LiveAid and Live8 fame–acknowledged that.)
On women’s rights, Bush has liberated more women than Susan B. Anthony. Just ask the Afghan women who for whom submitting to spouse abuse was required by law only four years ago.
On race relations, he has elevated blacks to prominent cabinet-level positions, and they served honorably. Condi Rice may go down as one of the most effective SecStates in the last quarter century. (I would strongly consider voting for her if she runs for President.)
On the New Orleans reconstruction plan, it has “New Deal” written all over it.
Even his partial privatization plan for Social Security is a variation of a Clinton proposal.
Republicans, true conservatives, and classical liberals should be wary: With the exception of a few social issues, race relations, and national defense, Bush is not really a conservative. His lax record on spending will only create a bigger mess for which future generations will get the tab.
Like Reagan, he has allowed high domestic spending as the tactical price for his larger initiatives: in this case the war against Islammunism and lower taxes.
Unlike Reagan, Bush has no excuse: Reagan had a Congress dominated by an opposing party; Bush has his own party in control of both houses.
The budget was already a mess, and now Katrina threatens to blow a hole in it the size of Hiroshima. Paying for the reconstruction of New Orleans will require either huge spending cuts or a significant tax hike or a deficit that–in miles–would take us to the moon, and back, and back to the moon. I hope he kills that pork-laden highway bill to pay for New Orleans–that would provide more than enough money for the reconstruction. However, I’m not holding my breath.
If Bush expects to win the war against Islammunism, pay for the New Orleans reconstruction, and maintain a fertile ground for economic growth, he is going to need to work with a longtime personal adversary: John McCain.
I’ll run around my block in my underwear if that happens.