The news this summer has been rather bleak for conservatives. The Supreme Court first decided to write 'diversity' into the Constitution. A few days later, it issued a ruling on sodomy laws that called into question its willingness to tolerate any state laws based on traditional understandings of sexual morality.
And while the Court issued its edicts and the rest of the world adjusted, a huge prescription-drug bill made its way through Congress. That bill will add at least $400 billion to federal spending over the next ten years, and it comes on top of already gargantuan spending increases over the last five years.
We have never been under any illusions about the extent of Bush's conservatism. He did not run in 2000 as a small-government conservative, or as someone who relished ideological combat on such issues as racial preferences and immigration. We supported him nonetheless in the hope that he would strengthen our defense posture, appoint originalist judges, liberalize trade, reduce tax rates, reform entitlements, take modest steps toward school choice. Progress on these fronts would be worth backsliding elsewhere. We have been largely impressed with Bush's record on national security, on judicial appointments (although the big test of a Supreme Court vacancy will apparently not occur during this term), and on taxes. On the other issues he has so far been unable to deliver.
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Bush ought to bear down on spending; we suggest that an assault on corporate welfare, followed by a reform of the appropriations process, would be a fine start. Republicans need a strategy for dealing with the judicial usurpation of politics that goes beyond trying to make good appointments to the bench -- a strategy that now has a two-generation track record of nearly unrelieved failure. On gay marriage, a constitutional amendment appears to be necessary to forestall the mischief of state and federal courts. . . .
This is not a bad time for conservatives to declare their independence from the GOP establishment.
This is the kind of re-calibration that should make libertarians like Suman, already uneasy about the conservative strings tying Bush, more amenable to Howard Dean. I hope. Because we need libertarians n board, as well as Greens, if we are going to reclaim the country from the domestic agenda of the Right.
I know there will be areas of disagreement. The real question is, will disagreement drive debate about improving policy under a Dean Administration? i think the answer is yes. With Bush, its ideology, not debate, that drives policy. Thats the foundation stone of my support for Dean over Bush.
And let Iraq burn - if it means America stays free.