diet coke for breakfast
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Posted by Tanstaafl
Instapundit Readers Comment on Bush v. Kerry
I've been meaning to blog on this for a while, but have been pretty busy.
Initially after some offline conversations with the other two major contributors to this blog, I was a bit worried about eroding support for President Bush. However, I've spent some time considering what you guys have said, and I have some answers.
1) You were both fairly angered by Bush's spending habits. But why would this be better under Kerry? Split government? Don't count on that helping, most spending comes in the form of pork projects that aren't ideological enough to veto. What spending would get curbed under Kerry? Education spending? Foreign aid? Medicare? Nope, nope, and nope. The most likely spending that Kerry would veto would be military spending. Frankly, I think that's the spending we need.
2) You're not fans of Bush's pandering to his conservative base. Well, I agree, but I would also like to put this in perspective. You've both expressed concerned that fiscal conservatives "like us" will be put-off by things like Bush's stance on gay marriage. While I don't have hard numbers on this, I think you've got some mistaken assumptions. First, it almost seems like you've split Republicans into two groups: social conservatives vs. fiscal conservatives. What you don't realize is that the vast majority of fiscal conservatives are also social conservatives. The fiscally conservative libertarian sect only really exists in the blogosphere and near liberal college campuses. I wish I could remember where, but I recently saw numbers that 60% of Americans oppose gay marriage. How many of that 40% do you figure are fiscally conservative Republicans versus how many are Democrats. If any of that 40% were ever going to vote for him, it was because of the WOT and DESPITE his social stands.
3) One of you said to me at one point that you wish there was a Republican primary challenge to pull Bush back in line on spending. Well that might be nice, but that's not what you'd get with a primary challenge. Primary challenges pull candidates to the extremes of their party. For instance, in 1992 Pat Buchanon pulled GHWBush out to the right, leaving more moderate positions open to Gov. Clinton. I understand you want someone else to vote for that's not as objectionable as Kerry, Edwards, Dean, et al, but you're not going to find it amongst likely Republican challengers.
4) Bush hasn't pandered to his "religous base" as much as you might think to listen to the media. First, the FMA is a nice rhetorical way for him to shore up some support, but it's not going to be policy. So while you might be concerned that he's losing votes (see point #2), I think it's a bit silly to be worried that he's going turn back the clock on gay rights. And again, Kerry's not much better on this issue. If what you want Bush to do is to totally disregard the people that got him elected any more than he already has, then you're asking a bit much. Remember it wasn't conservatives on college campuses in CA or CT (both blue states). It was his religious base in the midwest and south, and alot of those people are irritated on things like his immigration reform proposal or his middle of the road stance on stem-cells.
5) One of you felt it was more difficult to defend Bush's positions to liberals. Certain positions, sure, it's difficult to successfully argue them. Look Bush believes that a fetus is a soul, and to abort one is to committ murder. You're average liberal doesn't share that base assumption. They will NEVER agree on this issue. To try to argue it is a ridiculous exercise in futility. Some cases are still REALLY easy to make. For instance, the environment (another post for another time). If you're worried because you think this is a sign that YOU don't agree with Bush on as much as you used to that's one thing, but I wouldn't take increased liberal skepticism as a case against Bush. As campaigns ramp up and elections draw near, partisan pitch escaltes and they will be harder to calm down. Just remember how many of our liberal friends reacted on election night 2000. The sky was falling and they were all moving to Canada. Well, the sky did fall on September 11th, but that wasn't Bush's fault, and I think he's done a remarkable job putting it back together. Those potential emigrants are still here... so things couldn't have been that bad.
6) Don't fool yourself, just as a vote for Nader by someone who WOULD have voted for a Dem is half a vote for Bush, an abstention by someone who WOULD have voted for Bush is half a vote for the Democrat. It may be a grand political statement in your mind, but to mine, it's the ideal killing the good, allowing the bad to triumph.
I may have more thoughts on this later, but I think this is plenty for now.