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Crybaby Conservatives | The Nation

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The Notion

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Crybaby Conservatives

As George W. Bush's poll numbers plummet, influential conservatives have diagnosed the cause of his misery: he's not conservative enough.

Bush is just a softy moderate masquerading as a right-wing Christian. He won't push hard for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He won't send illegal immigrants back across the border. He's never met a spending bill he didn't like.

"I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie told The New York Times today. "I have never seen anything like it."

This not-conservative-enough claim is revisionist history at its most absurd. Yes, Bush has spent recklessly, compromised on immigration and flip-flopped on nation-building. But he is where he is today precisely because he listened to the conservative movement too often. He let neocons hijack our country's foreign policy. He let oil execs determine our energy policy. He appointed two Supreme Court justices beloved by the religious right. He gave Grover Norquist virtually every tax cut he wanted. He used a so-called "base strategy" to win re-election.

Bush is the farthest right president in recent memory--and possibly ever. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush raised taxes. Richard Nixon created the EPA. Dwight Eisenhower took on the military-industrial complex.

So forgive me, James Dobson, but I don't feel your pain. According to his spokesman, Dobson is "on a fact-finding trip to see where Republicans are regarding the issues that concern values voters most."

Maybe he can search for those missing WMDs in Iraq.

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