Wednesday, August 23, 2006


From a blurb on Richard Viguerie's new book Conservatives Betrayed (stetson tip to Digby:
This is the first book that deals with the disappointment and even anger that most conservatives have with President Bush and the GOP-led Congress on major public policy issues. In this conservative manifesto, Viguerie applies conservative principles to 21st Century problems and issues. He also presents a detailed strategy for conservatives to take back control of the Republican Party and govern America.

With President Bush's low approval numbers, the unrest among grassroots conservatives, and the potential for GOP losses in the 2006 and 2008 elections, this book is a roadmap for conservatives as they begin to rebuild the conservative movement, recapture the Republican Party, and move even the Democrats to the right. In Conservatives Betrayed, Mr. Viguerie proposes bold action for conservatives to take back the Republican Party from Big Government Republicans, including:

Withhold financial support from Republican committees and most Republican incumbents.

Withhold support from all 2008 presidential candidates.

No longer call yourself a "Republican" but rather a Reagan conservative or Reagan Republican.

And so the great conservative canard is perpetuated: "Bush isn't really conservative, that's why he screwed up. If he were a real conservative, ya know, like Reagan..." But there are 2 serious problems with this argument:

1. If Bush isn't really a conservative, then how come conservatives absolutely luuuuuuved him until quite recently? He got no less than 84 percent of the conservative vote in 2004. Not 2000. 2004, after the War in Iraq had not only begun, but had begun to sour. He failed to break even among either liberals or "moderates," but got such an overwhelming proportion of the conservative vote that they swung the election for him.

Of course, conservatives inevitably say, "Oh that's just because Kerry was sooooooo bad! We held our nose and voted for W, honest!" Oh really? Then maybe you can explain why Bush's approval rating was polling at 94% among conservatives in January 2005, after the election and long after Iraq had become a quagmire. In fact, just 5 months ago he was still stamped "Grade A Conservative" by 78% of his ideological peers, long after everyone else in the country had kicked him to the curb. By this point, for instance, he was only fooling 26% of Independents and 9% of Democrats.

2. How, exactly, is Bush different ideologically than Reagan again? Their foreign policy looks astonishingly similar to me. So similar, in fact, that it appears Bush is trying to wage Cold War on a Soviet-style terrorist monolith that doesn't even exist. Their economic and budgetary policies are nearly identical. And their domestic policy. Ditto with their rhetoric ("God Bless America," good vs. evil, etc.). Hell, don't they even have a lot of the same staff?

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