February 3, 2004

The Reagan of our fantasies..

This, by Orrin Judd, is thought provoking and kinda funny...

.... One of the most entertaining aspects of the Right's current sniping at George W. Bush is that it's a virtual replay of 1984, except that now Ronald Reagan is no longer the Right deviationist but a principled paragon of conservatism. Mr. Bush is thus measured against a Reagan who is nothing more than the figment of their imaginations. Take any issue that Mr. Frum mentions here and George Bush's record--not just his rhetoric--is more conservative than Ronald Reagan's.

TAXES: After winning his big tax cut, Ronald Reagan went back and raised taxes. After winning his big tax cut George Bush has cut them twice more.

TRADE: Ronald Reagan proposed free trade agreements but I don't think ever secured one on his watch. Meanwhile, he got "voluntary" import quotas on Japanese cars. Mr. Bush's temporary tariffs are minor by comparison to the car quota, while he's negotiated a series of free trade agreements since getting the Fast Track negotiating authority which had been denied his predecessor for several years.

ENTITLEMENTS: President Reagan, an old FDR Democrat, had spoken in the past of privatizing Social Security but not only did he have no plan to do so, he even helped prop up the current system. George Bush doesn't have the Senate votes to pass his first step in the privatization of Social Security but snuck school choice through in No Child Left Behind and both means testing and Health Saving Accounts in the bill that included the prescription drug program.

SOCIAL ISSUES: The limits on embryonic stem cell research funding and the partial birth abortion bill are more significant pro-life measures than any Ronald Reagan ever enacted, while the use of executive orders to farm out social service to faith-based organizations is unmatched by any similar measure during the Reagan years...

Along the same line, I wonder what's happening with Bush's easing of the rules for private firms to bid on government work? (I blogged about it here, in November '02) Anybody know? It's the sort of thing that's going to be slow to show any noticeable results´┐Żone of the main changes was to require government agencies to make decisions within one year, rather than five!

If Bush made ringing give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death Conservative declarations, he would frighten a lot of people and galvanize the opposition, and accomplish much less. Instead, the complaints of Conservatives just become part of his smoke-and-mirrors. He quietly says he's going to do something, and then he quietly does it, but what gets noticed are the ridiculous howls of Conservatives threatening to "punish" him by voting for a Democrat...

Posted by John Weidner at February 3, 2004 4:30 PM
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