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Friday, September 10, 2004

Andrew Sullivan comments (Reaganites versus Bush) on a Salon piece by Doug Bandow.


Quite simply, the president, despite his well-choreographed posturing, does not represent traditional conservatism -- a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, constitutional restraint and fiscal responsibility. Rather, Bush routinely puts power before principle.
Granted, Bush is no small government or libertarian Republican. Does Bandow expect Kerry to govern better or more conservatively on other issues than Bush?

Kerry is proposing just as much or more new spending as Bush is. The other difference is that Kerry wants to raise taxes to pay for it. Both are big government spenders. The difference is that Kerry is a tad more responsible than Bush (but not more conservative) with his fig leaf "tax increase on the wealthiest."

As previously confessed, however, the war is what matters to me. Kerry would retire into defensive positions and respond militarily only after an attack. Bush, on the other hand, asks, why wait for them? Why concede the initiative to them? You know they're coming.

Neither strategy is perfect. Execution of either of them would be (is) difficult. To my, eye, there are many fewer problems with Bush's approach. It at least has a chance of preventing further attacks on US soil. Kerry's approach has no such chance.

On most social and numerous economic issues, I'm with Sullivan. I like balanced budgets and small government that isn't peeking into my bedroom or trying to run my local school (not to mention my life). But that does not mean that most Americans or even most Republicans are. Why does it matter that the deficit is $400 Billion plus versus whatever Kerry's numbers show if:

We tell the ghost of Osama that he is free to do everything he needs to in order to prepare another 9/11 attack (with a cost in the trillions) with no military interference from us; and

We will voluntarily limit our military options to responding to such an attack?
That doesn't make us better people than Osama (since we already are). It will make some of us just as dead as he probably is.


One wonders why this kind of piece isn't published by the Weekly Standard or National Review.
Me too, but I also wonder why that kind of piece is passed over by people like the NYT and WaPo and 60 minutes in favor of anti-Bush exposes on his 35 year old service record in the National Guard.

Regardless of who wins the Presidency this time around (and either candidate can still win, despite the current euphoria among Bush supporters), the real loser in this election is going to be the media establishment.

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