Q&A Friday #53: Should Conservatives Let Democrats Impeach Bush?
Question: “Given that he’s still the President and wields enormous power, how closely should conservatives in this country continue their association with President Bush, especially since he now seems hell bent to make common cause with Mrs. Pelosi against his erstwhile supporters? Wouldn’t it ultimately be better for conservatives just to let Mrs. Pelosi and her minions “have” him, purging, even if not completely, the Rockefeller/Bush/Country Club Republicans from the GOP that has only survived by hitching along saprophytically on Goldwater/Reaganite conservatism? Additionally, given his repeated disloyalty toward us his base, our continued support of Mr. Bush, a man who appears increasingly unworthy of our support, seems more and more pathologic, a sort of political co-dependency.” — Cartman
Answer: Three things:
First off, I expect Bush to be ENORMOUSLY disappointing on domestic issues over the last couple of years of his term. After all, he was disappointing on domestic issues before, he’s a country club conservative, he doesn’t seem to care much about what movement conservatives want, he hasn’t shown much inclination to veto anything, and he hasn’t ever shown much stomach for going toe to toe with the Democrats. So, my expectation is that Bush is going to make conservatives pull their hair out over the next two years.
Still, it would be a huge mistake for conservatives to stand by and let him be unfairly impeached. He doesn’t deserve to be impeached, it would set a horrible precedent, it would cause massive Republican infighting, it would send a dangerous signal to our country’s enemies, it would endanger the war on terror, and just on general principle, I refuse to give the Democrats a single inch of ground that they don’t earn.
That being said, I don’t think Republicans should show the slightest hesitation any more about vocally disagreeing with Bush whenever he goes off the farm. If you look at the biggest problems the GOP had in the last election cycle, Bush was at the center of most of them. He supports amnesty, he’s a big government conservative, Harriet Miers, the Dubai Port Deal, refusing to fight back against the Democrats, etc.
Where we are at now as a party is at the same place as we were at in the seventies, when Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan represented two different wings of the party. Ford, like Bush, stood for sort of a weak kneed, moderate, wishy-washy Republican Party while Ronald Reagan said no, the GOP should follow a muscular, conservative agenda.
What needs to happen now for the GOP to succeed is that the movement conservatives have got to triumph over the watered down Bush/McCain/Giuliani vision for the Republican party just like Reagan triumphed over Ford.