Monday, February 7

THE KNIVES WILL COME OUT OVER BUSH'S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS

From my perspective, President Bush had an entire first term to endeavor to get Congress onboard to make bold cuts in federal spending, rather than wait until now, the beginning of his second term, to wax fiscally responsible. After all, isn't that precisely what a Republican-controlled Congress was supposed to do for us -- cut needless spending? This seems all too convenient. With a second term safely in the bag, he can conveniently hunt for federal spending cuts all he wants and what he doesn't get, which will be a good deal of what he is seeking, will not impact a re-election bid. Meanwhile, we're all impacted, including people like me who voted for him twice!

His gambit now is that he'll be able to claim, in the face of whithering criticism from the Democrats, that he did his level best to bend the opposition to his will, but things just didn't work out, as they -- the Dems -- were obstructionists. So, the appalling federal deficit will go untrimmed, continue to grow mercurially, and despite assurances from the president that it will be cut in half by the end of his presidency.

The president is just too late coming to this game and he was mindful throughout his first four years that he was disappointing conservative backers -- his "core" -- in spending like a Democrat run amok. For a president who has purposefully taken different turns in the road from his father's (Bush '41) presidency, there is one common denominator to father and son -- both are proponents of big government, regardless of what they espouse on the mashed potatoes and gravy circuit.

Do I still regard George Bush as the better choice over Al Gore or John Kerry? Is there water in the ocean? But, am I blind to his shortcomings as president? No. My key issues with him: unchecked federal spending; porous borders; the white elephant that is the Department of Homeland Security (with the much-neglected illegal immigration problem making a mockery of the very notion of an effective DOHS).