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With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democrats?
May 13, 2004
By Brad Friedman

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Conservatives, clearly an important pillar of Bush support if he is to still have a chance of winning in November, seem to be going rather wobbly on the old boy.

I'm talking about real conservatives here, not the Hannitys, Limbaughs and other ersatz armchair faux "conservatives" who wouldn't know real conservatism if it came up and bit them on their Goldwaters. Yes, there are still a few of them left in America. And yes, they will have to grease up their walkers and get to the polling place if Bush hopes to have a chance of winning the Presidency for the first time again this year.

Another critical article from The Weekly Standard (hardly a card-carrying member of the "Liberal Media"), nicely enumerates many - if not all - of the issues on which Bush is failing to make the grade by true conservative standards.

Irwin M. Stelzer's Standard piece aptly entitled "All Hat and No Cattle," spends the bulk of its ink outlining where Bush has gone entirely off the conservative reservation. And then, as if prodded by a Standard editor, somehow shoehorns all of those arguments to make them fit the article's paradoxical sub-title, "Why, despite everything, Bush should win." Go figure.

Anyway, in case any of those ersatz armchair faux "conservatives" are wondering what real conservatives think of Dubya, here's a short list of just a few of their, or at least Stelzer's, critiques:

Much disappointment in the "breakdown of civilian control over the military" and "chain of command that is in disarray" as seen via the US retreat from Fallujah and promotion of two anti-Shiite generals from Saddam's former army left behind to keep "peace" in the city, while "Saddam sits comfortably in prison... awaiting an eventual return to power, which is just what happened the last time he was thrown into prison by a legitimate Iraqi government." Toss into the mix what is seen as broken pledges "not to allow a few thugs and remnants of the old regime to recapture Falluja" and the failure to kill or capture Moktada al-Sadr. All of that just the latest in a series of similar examples where Bush has failed to deliver in Iraq.

On the budget front, they are none to happy with Bush "presiding over the largest expansion of the welfare state since the glory days of Lyndon Johnson." From exploding "non-military non-homeland-security expenditures" such as the prescription drug program "likely to end up claiming 2 percent of GDP" to the stalled energy bill which "to anyone who knows anything about energy markets says will do nothing to reduce our reliance on oil imported from the Bush family friends in Saudi Arabia."

Then there's the fiscal situation. Stelzer's happy that Bush's tax cuts have seen us out of "the recession he inherited from Clinton," but "that was then and this is now" and the deficit is out of control even while Bush "continues to increase spending and press for still more tax cuts... the time is long past when anyone believed that the tax cuts would be self-financing... his talk about cutting the deficit in half is nothing more than that - the talk of a man with a large hat and a very small herd."

Which brings it all back to Iraq. The Generals calling for more troops were right, and Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz were wrong about what would be needed in both numbers and dollars. Furthermore, Bush has drained resources and manpower from other places around the world to fight this battle, leaving us "vulnerable to the lunatics who run North Korea, and to any other regime that, sensing our lack of resolve in Iraq, decides that now is the time to strike against American interests." Add to that a bureaucratic mess on the ground which has led to a "reconstruction program [that] languishes." And the final blow: Bush's plan to "hand off power to some version of a sovereign Iraqi government cobbled together by the U.N.'s Israel-hating Lakhdar Brahimi."

Wow... and I thought that Kerry's core supporters were pretty tepid. He'll really have to work to screw this one up! Or... he could choose Dick Gephardt as his running mate.

Stay tuned...

Brad Friedman is a freelance writer and software designer. He is also a proud "Liberal Hollywood Elitist" sharing all of the great esteem and many rewards that come with it. His blog can be read at

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