Why Did I Vote For You?

I just finished reading Impostor, Bruce Bartlett’s book slamming President Bush for failing to live up to anything resembling conservatism. When I first heard about the book, I worried a bit whether Bartlett was just breaking ranks to sell books. If you’re worried about the same, don’t be. Bartlett’s ire for Bush comes through loud and clear, and it is certainly heartfelt.

The book, coupled with Bush’s speech yesterday on “price gouging”, followed by yet another toothless veto threat, made me ask why I bothered to vote for him in the first place. I once had an answer for that. I began blogging days after the 2004 election, and when Britian’s Daily Mirror asked “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”, I answered:

Why doesn’t the rest of the world understand that we have weighed the evidence, considered our options, and perhaps 59,054,087 intelligent, rational adults decided that reelecting George W. Bush was the best option we had?

In this election, we were faced with one very serious question. All others fell by the wayside. The question: Should we stand up and fight for what we thought was right in this world, or sit back with our “allies” and watch the threat grow?

I still believe today that given our external threats, Bush was the best candidate for dealing with those threats. I don’t believe that John Kerry would have been able to stand firm in the face of the world, to do what I believe is the right thing in the war on terror. Bush can do that. But he sure has bungled up everything else.

Actually, I shouldn’t completely say that. Bush did cut taxes, and I love tax cuts. But he missed the boat. Tax cuts, coupled with huge entitlement spending increases, is economic insanity. I’ve said before that I’m a supply-sider. I know that lower taxes spur economic growth, which will eventually raise more revenue for government. But at what point do huge deficits and skyrocketing entitlement spending turn into huge debt, requiring either inflation or a major tax increase to pay off?

Let’s run down the laundry list of what Bush has done to screw up so far:

  • Signed a blatantly unconstitutional campaign finance bill
  • Increased federal government intrusion into education— without corresponding improvements like vouchers
  • Created a bloated new medicare drug entitlement— all the while hiding its true estimated costs
  • Threatened veto after veto, without following through on a single one
  • Comported his entire administration as if it were a monarchy
  • Supported the Patriot Act & domestic wiretapping— dramatically increasing the police power of the state
  • Failed to respond to Katrina, one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history
  • Imprisoned Americans without trial, counsel, judicial oversight, or even a hearing

That’s not even addressing Iraq, which is a whole different debate.

As Bartlett points out, Bush is the “conservative” president who said “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.”

Contrast that with Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

George W. Bush has been described as a “big-government conservative”. Bush’s idea of government is that it doesn’t work, except when he’s holding the reins. His presidency, however, is better described by PJ O’Rourke: “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

Bush could have been defeated in 2004. In many ways, I wish he would have. Not by Kerry, of course. I don’t see how the Democrats could have their fingers so far from the pulse that they nominated so uncharismatic and vacillating that he couldn’t beat a weak Bush. If the Democrats had nominated someone who had come out with an understanding of at least finishing the job in Iraq, I would have voted for him.

With a pro-war Democrat in office, we might have had a chance at Bush’s only redeeming quality, coupled with the best feature of Clinton’s final 6 years: gridlock. We might have seen the Republican Congress start acting like Republicans, fighting spending. Instead, we’ve been stuck with a Congress who wants to send pork back home, coupled with a president too scared to rebuke members of his own party. Republicans have all three branches of government locked up, and they spend their time trying to act like Democrats. What’s worse? They have such little experience administering and creating welfare programs, that they’ve screwed up every attempt at doing so (i.e. Medicare Part D). It’s gotten so bad, that I DON’T EVEN WANT Social Security privatization if it comes from this batch of Republicans, because I know they’ll be serving the needs of investment bankers, not me.

The last several years have seen complete mismanagement of government. Just as PJ O’Rourke predicted. 2006 and 2008 are going to be a big wake-up call for the Republican party, and I, for one, think it’s about damn time.

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  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/21/who-is-eric/ Eric

    Wow, you lasted longer than I did. By a long shot. I was done with George W. by early 2005, which was 4 years too long to have any faith or confidence in him. The Democrats are complete and total idiots. A blind monkey could have beat Bush in ’04, so they nominated the one person that didn’t have a prayer in hell.

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne

    The dems didnt particularly want to win in 2004; much like the republicans in nominating Bob Dole in ’96.

    They wanted to improve their congressional position, because it is the house of representatives contingent that actually controls the democratic party (along with their “fringe” donor element).

    The best thing for the democratic congressional contingent has been the hostile to republican press, and G.W.B. as president.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    Are you saying the Democrats consciously threw the election?

  • http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/ Stephen Littau

    “Republican politicians are the political match for 1-900 phone sex. They promise, and promise, and when you hang up, you realize three things: they cost us a lot of money, the real thing is a lot more satisfying, and the Republicans are never going to come across.”
    –Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential candidate (for Harry Browne) Jo Jorgenson, in a Libertarian press release.

    That pretty much sums up how I have felt about the Republican Party as of late.

  • Regis

    The only reason I vote for Republicans is because Socialist/multiculturalist democrats scare the hell out of me.

    Multilateralism, Anti-Americanism, Tax Hikes, Kelo, and cowardly appeasement of America’s self-proclaimed enemies? If I wanted to live in a socialist dystopia as a dhimmi I’d move to France thank you very much.

    What you see from democrats ARE their principles. They are nihilist to the core and it disgusts me.

    At least with Republicans there is some slim hope they’ll return to their small government principles.

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne

    Purposely threw it? No. Didnt exactly give it their best effort? Yeah I’m sure of it.

    The congresscritters new Kerry was a loser, after all they worked with the guy (he was one of my senators much of my life). THey also knew that he would be horrible for them in the mid terms if he won.

    Did they throw it? No, they counted on GW to make a huge ass of himself after the election (which he did like clockwork) and thus improve their position for the midterms, and make it easier to put someone they actually want to get behind with full effort in for ’08.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/21/who-is-eric/ Eric

    Kerry clearly was not only not a “best effort”, but was one of the worst possible choices the DNC could have put forward. New England Liberals have never been successful on the national level since JFK. And JFK was really only successful because Tricky Dick Nixon was such a bad choice on the GOP part in 1960. The telling factor is how well Kerry performed in the actual election. The measure of Bush is that he couldn’t beat Kerry the way that Reagan beat Mondale and his father beat Dukakis. And Kerry should have lost that badly, he was so bad.

    I don’t really expect the Democrats to win the White House in ’08. Their entire strategy is shaping up to be “we’re against the Republicans, the war in Iraq, defending the country and want to create a socialist utopia”. I do think they are going to gain some seats in the House and, potentially, the Senate this year. And that will be the fault of a GOP that looks like a religious version of the DNC: spend, regulate, socialize stuff, spend some more ……. but all in the name of God.

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne

    I’m pretty much with you there Eric.

    Honeslty, I think if the republicans put up any halfway acceptable candidate, the “I will not vote for a democrat for president until this war is won” demographic will be enough.

    I’m a dedicated libertarian minarchist, and I’ll be voting with that demographic, because giving the reins to ANY democrat is even worse than if we were to have another GWB in office next term.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany


    What of the idea that having a pro-war Democrat in the White House, coupled with a Republican Congress, might be the best option? After all, Congress actually restricted its spending from 1994-2000, when they refused to spend money Clinton could take credit for.

    We’d have a serious problem when openings on the Supreme Court came around, but I think it might be a good thing for our spending problems.

  • http://www.indiancowboy.net/blog IndianCowboy

    Surprised you made it that long.

    I decided probably in 2003 I wouldn’t vote for Bush in the first presidential election I was old enough for.

    For me, it was more the Christian Right business than anythine else, but as time passed the economic stuff has come to bother me a lot more.

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne


    I think congress is going to get spanked but the reps will still hold a (thin) majority in both houses this midterm. If that happens, I’m willing to bet that a lot of congresscritters will newly descover the religion of restraint.

    And no, I will never vote for a democratic president again, so long as the democratic party remotely reseembles what it does today; because not only do you get a president, but you get a whole administration and executive branch. The damage Bill Clinton did in his 8 years is utterly phenomenal if you’ve seen it from the inside. Because its all “inside baseball” stuff the general public doesnt see it, but I think a democratic president and republican congress would do more damage than a democratic congress would do with a republican president.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/21/who-is-eric/ Eric

    The problem is all of the people the President brings into the administration who believe in the use of the state and socialist principles. Think of Ruby Ridge and Waco, bare tip of the iceberg on what Federal law enforcement did under Clinton. The business regulation that was out of control, an IRS empowered to go after anyone and everyone.

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne

    I put up a new post summarizing and detailing what I was trying to say in this comment thread.

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