I Get Letters — Bush In 2004

I Get Letters — Bush In 2004: A letter I received from a reader and my reply…

Dear John,

I don’t expect an answer to this e-mail, but I just wanted to express my frustration and you seem to be a reasonable guy who can understand what I am going through.

I am neither a conservative nor a liberal. And I am certainly not a middle-of-the-roader. I care mainly about freedom, and in particular the (unbridled) free market and property rights.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. That was the first time I had voted for a presidential candidate since 1988, when I voted for his father. I was not about to vote for Bush Sr. again, and even less for Bob Dole, but I could not bring myself to vote for Bubba. I am now starting to regret my 2000 vote (when I was a Florida resident, no less).

So Bush Jr. has pushed for the largest welfare boondoggle since the New Deal. And he has applauded affirmative action. And now he is sending his generals to Liberia, of all God-forsaken places. In my mind, this negates a great deal of what has been accomplished since 9/11.

America, if she wishes, can be the world’s policeman and newest socialist state. But she will fail miserably. And President Bush should remember that the Democrats are a lot better at playing this game (although, in the end, they will fail as well).

And on top of all this, we are now hearing that our steel tariffs have just been condemned by the WTO. So the country I love is now getting lessons in laissez-faire from the European Union! This is too much.

If Mr. Bush continues on this path, he will be thrown out of office, as he deserves. At least, his opponents are less hypocritical. No one could ever mistake Ted Kennedy or HRC for a friend of capitalism.


Denys Gontard
Mexico City


Dear Denys

It may surprise you to hear this, but I agree with much of what you say. I’ve been bitterly disappointed in many parts of Bush’s domestic agenda. Without question, W. is not a fiscal conservative. The farm bill was hideously bloated and the prescription drug benefit is a big government monstrosity that no one who has the slightest concern about the deficit could ever support. I was also against the steel tariffs, think Bush is wrong not to support lifting the assault weapons ban, believe amnesty for illegal aliens is a terrible idea, and I am totally opposed to sending our troops to countries where the US has no interests, like Liberia.

That being said, Bush has some major pluses as well. He has conducted the war on terrorism like a pro — he’s doing what it takes to defend our country. Furthermore, he’s another Reagan when it come to cutting taxes. No, his cuts haven’t been as big, but he pushed through the largest cuts Congress would allow. He also wants to help fix Medicare & wants to partially privatize Social Security. So it’s not as if Bush is all bad.

However, we do part company on whether Bush will be reelected if he, “continues on this path”. The reason he’s supporting some of these decidedly non-Conservative programs is because he wants to be reelected. It’s triangulation pure and simple. He’s “hugging” his opponents on issues where they have an advantage and playing to his own strengths. I mean let’s face it, do you think any of the Democrats running would have refused to sign on to the Medicare bill? Are they going to cut taxes or raise taxes? Would you trust Howard Dean, John Kerry, or Dick Gephardt to defend America in the global war on terrorism? That’s the point of what he’s doing. Where Bush is “weak”, his opponents are no better or even worse. Where he’s “strong”, none of his opponents can match him.

While I’m not happy with a lot of the things that Bush is doing domestically either, is there anyone better on the horizon? It’s not as if we have a choice in 2004 between Bush and a rejuvenated Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be Bush or a Democrat and we’re going to have to pick the best person to get as much of our agenda pushed through as possible. That means for me, Bush is going to be where my vote is going even if I disagree with some of the positions he takes.

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