Friday, September 16

PRESIDENT BUSH: A DEMOCRAT IN DISGUISE?

I read Patrick Ruffini's concise round-up of the initial reaction of major center-right bloggers to President Bush's speech last night from New Orleans with interest and, alas, dismay. Did I get it so wrong that I'm obliged to go against the grain this morning of the likes of Hugh Hewitt, Paul Mirengoff, and Lorie Byrd (who, in turn, quotes Michelle Malkin)? Well, I don't think so. I think I got it right. What do you think?

What I saw and heard last night was the transmogrification of a conservative Republican president (who I voted for in 2000 and 2004) into a full-fledged Democrat in the unadulterated mold of FDR/LBJ -- a president who believes the federal government and big government spending are the solutions to anything that aflicts America (or the world, for that matter). The only distinguishing difference is that President Bush, with the full cooperation of a compliant Republican-controlled Congress, spends like a liberal Democrat, as if there is no tomorrow, but chooses to leave it to a future Democratic president to raise the taxes necessary to support his LBJ-style "guns and butter" ambitions.

Just how it is we'll fund the no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, rebuild that war-torn country, rebuild the Katrina-devastated Gulf Coast, eradicate AIDS in Africa, fund the scandously pork-laden Energy and Transportation Bills, and meanwhile neglect a staggering national debt is beyond me and, to be sure, the president spent no time whatsoever on illuminating that issue last night. Spending billions of dollars has become politic; explaining how we'll pay for it impolitic. The president, standing before you in soft, blue pastel lights last night, has permitted on his watch just this year alone (and without resorting to use of his veto power) 13,900 pork barrel projects crammed into 13 appropriations bills. That fact, in the context of a federal commitment that could exceed $200 billion for Katrina relief (already running at $2 billion/day), should have been set in bold relief by the harsh glow of klieg lights.

Just take a look at this (published by The Independent Institute).

As he did following the enormity of "9/11," President Bush has committed enormous sums of taxpayers' dollars in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, while not proposing that taxes be raised and while not asking a single sacrifice (other than continued charitable giving) of the American people. His brand of federalism is that the money will come from Washington D.C., but the same incompetents (e.g., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco) will call the shots on how that money is spent and for what projects. And in his speech there was not word one about offsets -- i.e., what funding will have to be cut or curtailed to deal with these major commitments of taxpayers' dollars and federal resources.

The president committed the nation to relieving the pain of the Gulf Coast without telling us the pain we must endure to accomplish that.

FOLLOW-UP: Read my commentary, please, in the context of the ongoing war on terror, for which the United States is carrying the lion's share of the load, the clear threats that have yet to be addressed from rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea, and the enormous costs that will attend any administration that belatedly chooses to deal with our nation's porous borders, the wholesale invasion of illegal aliens, and the national security threat they pose. Even a nation as rich and powerful as the United States of America has limitations and must assess priorities. Neither for ourselves domestically, nor for the world at large, can we be all things to all people. I didn't even include in this post the huge costs to this nation's taxpayers of unchecked illegal immigration, although as regular readers of this blog know, I cover that subject comprehensively each and every week.