George W. Bush: A Loss for Conservatism?

Article excerpt

BEFORE NIXON WAS NOMINATED in 1968, newly elected California Governor Ronald Reagan gave him a good run for his money, and actually came within striking distance, at the convention, of getting the nomination. Nixon beat Reagan back with the help of Barry Goldwater and many other conservatives who had either been supporters for years or felt Reagan could not win. Conservatives who backed Nixon thought that he was "conservative enough" and would do most of what they wanted. Nixon did bring a few-a very few-conservatives into his administration: Pat Buchanan, Lyn Nofziger, and Tom Huston come to mind. But in the end, few would dispute that Nixon's presidency set the conservative cause back by more years than he spent in the White House. And he was not the last Republican president to do so.

It is too soon to know whether we will say the same of George W. Bush, but there are many troubling signs. As our editor R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. points out in his astute piece on Mr. Bush, the President's falling poll numbers do not reflect liberal disenchantment with his efforts. Liberals never supported him anyway. The falling poll numbers reflect his base, melting away into disillusion. Did I put my faith in this man, did I believe his campaign promises, did I work for him, did I send my money-all for this? ask conservatives.

Domestic spending, according to the Wall Street Journal, shot up 29 percent since Bush took office, military spending up 32 percent. Lines in the sand have been drawn, then crossed, and a new line drawn. …