Saturday :: Jun 5, 2004

He Who Makes The Gold ...


by pessimist

Everywhere I turn, I find more evidence that George Warmonger Bush is toast - assuming that John F. Kerry doesn't crash and burn for some reason. That aside, yet another tale of former Bush supporter woe emerges. Now he's pissing off the big donors.

Some Big Conservative Donors, Unhappy With Bush, Say They Won't Back His Campaign

Some major donors to the Club for Growth, a principal fund-raising engine of the conservative movement, have said they plan to sit out this year's presidential election to protest what they see as the administration's big-government tendencies. At a dinner in Manhattan on Tuesday for about 20 prominent members of the club, President Bush's credentials as a limited-government conservative became the subject of heated debate. Many of those present criticized the president's Medicare plan as too expensive and his erstwhile support for steel tariffs as inefficient, several participants said.

One mainstay of the group, the investment manager Tucker Andersen, told other members that he planned to withhold his vote and his money from the president. "I would be surprised if more than half the people in the room actually wrote checks for him," Mr. Andersen said in an interview yesterday.

It has become one of the most potent fund-raising machines on the right, said Steven Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions. "As it relates to the presidential election, it is more symbolic than anything," he said of members' discontent. "To the extent that it reflects a larger division in the Republican Party, that is a concern for George Bush."

The club's president, Stephen Moore confirmed that many club members were torn over support for the president, saying that many board members felt some frustration with the administration's spending. "There are a lot of donors who have said, 'No, I am not going to support Bush because he is a big spender or because he supported Specter or because of the steel tariffs,' " he said. "It is easier to raise money for ads attacking Kerry than for pro-Bush ads."

Mr. Moore himself helped initiate the debate Tuesday evening, people present said. After the club's board members, founders and some donors had finished interviewing four candidates vying for its support, the participants retired for dinner around the corner at an Italian restaurant, Patsy's, where Mr. Moore asked Mr. Andersen about his skeptical take on the administration.

Mr. Andersen, who is also on the boards of Gopac, an organization that seeks to groom Republican candidates at the state level, and the libertarian Cato Institute, said he soured on Mr. Bush over the Medicare overhaul.

In an interview, he said he had argued that proponents of limited government might be better off with a Democrat in the White House and the Republicans in control of one house of Congress because the divided government would block any new program from either side. "There is no spending program that this administration doesn't like," Mr. Andersen said. "Except for the tax cut, I can't find that much to support."

A few participants also faulted the president's conduct of the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act, an antiterrorism law that some libertarians say violates privacy rights. "The more libertarian-leaning Republicans are by far the ones who are the most angry at Bush," Mr. Moore said.

Definitely - a uniter, not a divider. Good work, George. Keep it up.


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