“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”-President Ronald Wilson Reagan
<p>The United States is rapidly moving towards the 2008 national elections, ushering in a new era in politics. However, before opening a new chapter, it is necessary to first close the chapter on the old book, and reflect on the past eight years where the Republicans have held the Presidency, the House of Representatives, and the Senate for the majority of George W. Bush’s term in office. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you need not look any further than my title to realize how I, as a conservative feel about the Bush years. Many conservatives, myself included got into the trap of believing that George W. Bush would serve the Republican party well, that he would be a president very similar to Reagan, in the same way that while they never connected with the elites, they both always connected well with the American people. Unfortunately, not only was President Bush not like Reagan, but he completely dismantled the Reagan legacy of conservatism for socially conservative, big government populism. Before we move forward, we must understand what we are moving forward from, which is the Bush years that were a complete failure for conservatism and for the Republican Party. </p>
One of the biggest failures, that has been widely documented, and is still widely discussed, is Bush’s failures on the domestic front. On this front, even with a majority Congress and a mandate, Bush refused to forward the conservative belief that the government is not the solution to the problem, but that the government is the problem. Bush’s Republican Congress tried to cut taxes like Republicans, and spend like Democrats, and President Bush let his veto pen gather rust in his pocket. Instead, in the interest of getting things done, President Bush pushed a huge federal education plan stripped of all conservative goals such as school choice as well as increasing entitlement plans such as Medicare D. He tripled the education budget from what it was under Clinton and doubled the amount of foreign aid to other countries. This was the beginning of “compassionate conservatism” that would guide Bush’s domestic policy, being defeated by his own Congress on conservative reforms such as privatizing social security, drilling in ANWR and making his tax cuts permanent. Each year, we grew to see that our President was no Reaganite, but instead was pushing through a nanny state on steroids with a supposedly beefed up national security and stronger foreign policy, which is the other issue to be addressed.
<p>Lately, Bush is getting credit for standing his ground on Iraq, the only area where Bush has stood up to Democrats. Bush does and should receive credit for pushing for victory in Iraq, but should be equally blamed for not listening to Senator McCain and General Powell who told him from the beginning that Iraq would need more troops in order for the war to be waged successfully. Not to mention extreme laws such as the Patriot Act, which increases the power of the federal government as well as dramatically increasing executive power. People who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither goes the saying, and these laws were passed soon enough after the 9/11 attacks on our soil that no one was willing to stand in the way of national security, even to think that legalizing warrantless searches and seizures on US citizens, as well as giving the government the ability to wiretap its own citizens might be a step in the wrong direction, and once again, an increase in the federal government’s power under the Bush administration.</p><p>The biggest problem with George W. Bush was his failure as a communicator, something that was Reagan’s biggest asset. Reagan could articulate and defend conservatism in a way that President Bush cannot and will not ever be able to. Certainly some of that is due to the fact that Reagan was a gifted and talented speaker; but much of that comes from the fact that George W. Bush was never selling conservatism; instead he was selling Scoop Jackson Democrat policies wrapped up in the American flag. There was no Morning in America, no shining city on a hill; this has been eight years of red state/blue state and politics that divide the American people, rather than unite them. This has been eight years of the GOP prostituting itself as a majority, selling out to lobbyists and special interests groups and losing sight of what matters to the American people. As the Reagan landslide victories show, one does not have to sacrifice conservatism in order to govern and win an election as a conservative, but nor does one have to feed into what makes us different as Americans. While Bush pushed a socially conservative nanny state, worrying about Bob marrying Bill and what happens to embryos being thrown in the garbage at clinics, the American people were hurting at the pump, with no drilling and no new energy bill. While we spent billions of dollars on a failing Iraq strategy, rather than planning for security and reconstruction of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the American people and American youth saw no plan for their future, as the President and his Congress sold out to the AARP lobbyists and let them kill meaningful social security reform. And as the American people looked for jobs and ways to increase their income, the President and members of his Party along with the Democrats sought to legalize illegal immigration into the United States, with the President of Mexico, George W. Bush’s friend Vincente Fox justifying it on the ground that “Mexicans do the work that not even the Blacks want to do.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is truly, truly time for a change in Washington.</p><p>This is not a time to panic, as we saw the Democrats landslide victories in 2006, many running on the same socially conservative, big government programs that swept the GOP into power for the previous six years. This is a time for a choice, not an echo, as conservative columnist Phylis Schafly so brilliantly wrote in 1964 before the GOP nominated my political hero, Barry Goldwater. This is a time to return to the values of Reagan, the values of Goldwater; a time when we remembered that the nine most dangerous words are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” This is a time for John McCain and Sarah Palin. John McCain and Sarah Palin understand that the GOP has lost because we have become just like the Democratic Party that we swore to defeat in 2000. One of my most recent columns I wrote that what we needed instead of the Democratic Party’s plantation was to burn the whole damn thing down. But the more I reflect, the more I was obviously too kind. It is not just the Democrats that need to go, but the fat cat Bush Republicans that have stolen the mantle of conservatism and damaged the Republican brand. This is indeed a time for a man who requests zero dollars in earmarks and understands that you don’t cut taxes without cutting spending as well. This is a time is a man who understands the need to win a war without passing pork laden defense and spending bills, and someone has called out his fellow Senators as porkers. This is a time for a man who will clean up Washington, throw out the fat cats and special interests groups and give the American people their government back. John McCain knows that it is time for small government, an aggressive foreign policy that will make America strong and powerful abroad, and a booming and powerful economy boosted by lowered spending, tax cuts, and investments in America that will increase America’s growth at home. And indeed, this is not just time for a man, but it is time for the American Maggie Thatcher to rise as the future leader of this nation. A future leader, a maverick in her own right, who has gone after the good ol’ boys Republican leadership and won. This is a time for a woman who understands energy and economics and who understands the necessity of using domestic resources for energy rather than being held hostage by countries with ties to terrorist regimes and dictatorships. To quote Senator Thompson, “The Democrats have chosen themselves a historical candidate. Historic in the sense that he is the most liberal, inexperienced candidate to ever run for President in the history of this nation.” For the last eight years, we’ve offered nothing more than an echo. It’s time to offer a choice. It’s time for the restoration of the Reagan legacy. It’s time for John McCain and Sarah Palin.</p>