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Volume II, Number 472 December 2002

An American Myth: Bush is a Conservative

Paul Corrigan

Conservative citizens, beware. The Bush administration is not what you think it is. George W. Bush is not a conservative. The Bush administration does not serve the principles of democracy and liberty, nor does it believe that less government is better government. In both the government and corporate sectors, power is being concentrated in fewer hands. It does not matter that the political concentration of power is blessed by an election instead of a right of birth; elections in the United States of America have been reduced to form over substance. What matters is that the accumulation of political power (legislative, executive, and judicial) and economic power (corporate and cultural) is a threat to both democracy and liberty. True conservatives understand that power corrupts. True conservatives are not blind to the corruption in the Bush administration.

My conservative friends, I ask you to reflect on a simple question. What did Bush promise you that his administration would deliver if he was elected? He promised a tax cut, an end to nation-building, smaller government, and an administration that would restore honor and integrity to the White House. Those were the recurring themes of his campaign. It should not surprise you that the Bush administration has not delivered on a single promise.

The Promise to Cut Taxes

Bush did not cut taxes in any real sense. What Bush did was to defer sending Americans their tax bills by increasing the national debt. He also redistributed a significant portion of the tax burden from the wealthiest Americans to the middle class. Government cannot cut real taxes without either decreasing spending or by finding money from other sources. Bush has replaced a surplus with a deficit by borrowing the money. How is that conservative? It is similar to the tricks corporate executives use to inflate their stock price in the short term for personal gain, knowing that the company's long term prospects will be harmed. In this case, the beneficiaries of the "voodoo economics" are wealthy Americans, who will see the percentage of the tax pie they pay over time significantly reduced while middle-class Americans will see the percentage that they pay increase. Bush promised a tax cut both to get votes and to redistribute the tax burden of wealthy political supporters to the middle class. The tax cut promise was a fraud.

The Promise to End Nation-Building

Bush got a lot of mileage in his debates with Gore by promising to end the nation-building foreign policy associated with the Clinton administration. Now, the Bush administration is hell bent on both nation destroying and nation building at a cost that would make Bill Clinton blush. The administration would have us believe that this 180-degree turn resulted from the terrorist attacks of September 11. The reality is that the threats of terror preexisted September 11, as did the Bush plans to radically change United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Of course, the cost of nation-destroying and nation-building makes the promise of a tax cut even more far-fetched. Bush promised to end nation building to get votes. The promise to end nation building was a fraud.

The Promise to Shrink Government

I know how susceptible conservatives are to smaller government promises and I feel your pain at being duped. Like a spouse whose mate has cheated on them for the umpteenth time, you want to believe there are extenuating circumstances and save the marriage. I am here to tell you to get out. Did you not learn anything from your marriage to Ronald Reagan? Bush is loading up the bureaucracy and peeking in our windows, all while telling Americans that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from increased domestic surveillance and gutted civil liberties. Bush promised smaller government to get votes. The smaller government promise was a fraud.

The Promise to Restore Honor and Integrity to the White House

Honor and integrity are exhibited through substance, not form. George W. Bush is a cross between an English king and a Mafia don. Bush's rise to the presidency has much in common with an English monarch. Once in office, he quickly served a class of aristocrats. Like a Mafia don, Bush demands an implied oath of loyalty to the family from the officials around him. There is no honor or integrity in giving disgraced family loyalists like Eliot Abrams, John Poindexter and Henry Kissinger positions of power. Bush promised to restore honor and integrity to get votes. The promise to restore honor and integrity to the White House was a fraud.

Bush talks the rhetoric of conservatism and rugged individualism. Bush walks the reality of the big government and corporate interests that put him in the presidency.