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May 12, 2006
Once Burned

The Washington Examiner spells out conservative angst in its latest editorial, "Conservatives Won't Be Fooled Again". The Examiner notes the increasing disconnect between the administration and the conservative agenda, and warns Karl Rove that base-inflaming rhetoric will not work in these elections absent a concrete return to conservative principles in government:

Bush won two presidential elections thanks in large part to conservatives to whom he appealed as the true heir to the Reagan Revolution. But the Gipper wouldn’t recognize Bush’s version of “conservative” government: Federal spending and debt have exploded. Ditto the unfunded liabilities of major entitlement programs. Federal regulation has been vastly expanded in education and health care. As National Taxpayers Union President Dr. John E. Berthoud told The Examiner, “You can’t tax like Reagan while spending like Dean.”

Even worse, Bush’s refusal to veto pork-barrel spending has compromised the efficacy of his tax cuts. Indeed, “limited government” never looked so big. Adding to Bush’s problem is the stench of scandal stinking up Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives look at 12 years of GOP control of Congress and wonder why they don’t have much more to show for it. ...

Karl Rove reportedly has a plan to “stir up” the base to again save the Republicans’ electoral bacon, but conservatives won’t be satisfied this time around with more token efforts on issues like marriage and dire warnings that “the Democrats would be far worse.” Conservatives have heard that song before and know it never has a second verse.

The Examiner, under the direction of Mark Tapscott, has developed into a coherent voice for conservative principles, and the administration should heed his warning. If Rove wants to fire the base up in 2006, he had better start imploring Bush to work on the reduction of government -- especially its spending -- and focus more clearly on the security implications on immigration, rather than continue to blather on about the dreams of immigrants. None of this requires any extraordinary insight; conservatives have been making their views clear at least since the last presidential election.

However, the real problem in this cycle is the Republican leadership in Congress, and more specifically, the Senate. Both chambers have allowed members to pork up their spending bills, but at least the House understands that it should be embarrassed by this effort. In the Senate, members treat pork as if it were an unquestioned perq of office -- which for too long it has been. Trent Lott, chief among the porkers, has repeatedly declared his disgust with those who would question his judgment on earmarks, going so far as to contemptuously dismiss citizens concerned about the abuse of their tax monies by remarking that he was "damn tired" of hearing from them.

That kind of arrogance -- that "Let them eat cake" attitude -- represents the real affront to conservatives in this election. George Bush has his problems, but Bush isn't running for anything this year. The people who feel so free to spend our money while sneering at us for demanding better oversight comprise the true threat to conservative principles. That's why we need to offer primary challenges to those politicians, in order to underscore our deep dissatisfaction with the haughty and dismissive nature of their rule.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 12, 2006 6:21 AM

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