No Hobgoblins Here

Kevin Drum, October 19, 2003:
[I]t has become obvious since he took office that, far from being a “uniter not a divider,” George Bush is in fact (a) radically conservative and (b) does everything he can to hide the fact.
Kevin Drum, November 25, 2003:
I think that both liberals and conservatives have made the mistake of convincing themselves that Bush is a hard right ideologue . . . But if you look a bit more closely you’ll see that he’s not.

5 thoughts on “No Hobgoblins Here”

  1. Heh heh. Damn search function.
    Although in my defense, “does everything he can to hide the fact” is more or less consistent with my second post. I suspect that if he could get away with it he would be considerably more conservative than he is.

  2. I agree that Bush is probably listing left on Medicare, spending and trade in large part out of direct electoral calculation or out of a need to horse-trade in Congress. None of this is really shocking, although it remains disappointing: We knew when he ran in 2000 that he was a guy who’d set a few high-priority issues, stick to his principles on those, and sell out on things he saw as unimportant. We knew he made campaign promises to introduce a prescription drug package (it was practically the first thing he mentioned in his first speech after the recount), and that his record on spending in Texas wasn’t great. I’ve been more disappointed that he didn’t stick to his guns on education, which had appeared in the campaign to be the issue he knew best.

  3. I think Kevin’s getting his terms and concepts confused. I find Bush pretty ideological, but not in the traditional conservative sense. He’s not really in favor of free trade, but he’s not pro union either.
    Bush’s ideology is a lot like Nixon’s: do what it takes to get re-elected. If it takes steel tariffs, we get steel tariffs. If it takes getting rid of those tariffs, he’ll get rid of them.
    However, there is one group whose votes he wants enough to stick with their ideology, and that’s the religious right. Bush hasn’t broken from them yet, although the stem cell compromise may have roused a few mumbles. But when it comes down to the religious right’s votes and the health of women in developing countries, Bush can be counted on to satisfy his base.

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