Sunday :: Jul 11, 2004

Even Conservatives Are Uneasy About Bush


by pessimist

UPDATED

Some Key Conservatives Uneasy About Bush

WASHINGTON - When an influential group of conservatives gathers in downtown Washington each week, they often get a political pep talk from a senior Bush administration official or campaign aide. They don't expect a fellow Republican to deliver a blistering critique of President Bush.
But nearly 150 conservatives listened in silence recently as a veteran of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations ticked off a litany of missteps in Iraq by the Bush White House. "This war is not going well," said Stefan Halper, a deputy assistant secretary of state under President Reagan. "It's costing us a lot of money, isolating us from our allies and friends," said Halper, who gave $1,000 to George W. Bush's campaign and more than $83,000 to other GOP causes in 2000. "This is not the cakewalk the neoconservatives predicted. We were not greeted with flowers in the streets."

Conservatives, the backbone of Bush's political base, are increasingly uneasy about the Iraq conflict and the steady drumbeat of violence in postwar Iraq, Halper and some of his fellow Republicans say. The conservatives' anxiety was fueled by the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal and has not abated with the transfer of political power to the interim Iraqi government.

Some Republicans fear angry conservatives will stay home in November, undercutting Bush's re-election bid. "I don't think there's any question that there is growing restiveness in the Republican base about this war," said Halper, the co-author of a new book, "America Alone: The Neoconservatives and the Global Order."

Halper said his critical review on the administration's performance on Iraq last week was met with expressions of support in the conservatives' weekly meeting, which is closed to journalists.

"I am bitterly disappointed in his actions with this war. It is a total travesty," said Tom Hutchinson, 69, a self-described conservative from Sturgeon, Mo., who posted yard signs and staffed campaign phone banks for the Republican in 2000. Hutchinson said he did not believe the administration's stated rationales for the war, in particular the argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Hutchinson, a retired businessman and former college professor, said his unease with Iraq may lead him to do something he has not done since 1956: avoid the voting booth in a presidential election.

Jack Walters, 59, a self-described "classical conservative" from Columbia, Mo., said he hadn't decided which candidate to vote for. "Having been through Vietnam, I thought no, never again," Walters said. "But here comes the same thing again, and I'm old enough to recognize the lame reasons given for going into Iraq, and they made me ill."

Bush Supporters Erode the Values of the Right

An individual blindly backing the current president, George W. Bush, bases their arguments for support of this man on heavy rhetoric yet little fact. Many choose to attack Bush's detractors rather than defend the merits of Bush's actions. For the most part, they are either intellectually dishonest or so horribly misinformed that they cannot see error in their thoughts. Instead of engaging in factual debate regarding the Bush administration, Bushies have taken the field to attack John Kerry and his new running mate John Edwards. Most of their arguments are solid yet they only take this position in order to avoid a debate regarding their fearless leader.

Throughout my statements above, you may have noticed that I did not refer to Bush supporters as conservatives, or even of being truly on what we consider as the political right. Those poor, misled individuals who choose to stand unquestioningly by Bush are not conservatives. They are men and women who are loyal to one mere politician instead of their country. Although the Bush flock quickly rebukes dissenters as un-American, unpatriotic or traitors, they should take the time out to analyze their own loyalties.

True conservatives, value integrity above all other personal traits. Without integrity, the sincerity of other positions can easily be questioned. Although many conservative leaders have shown a great lack of honesty in the past through hypocrisy or simply bold-faced lies, the men and women who make up this movement are as a whole, good, truthful people.

By supporting the administration of George Bush, those who in the past may have considered themselves "conservative" are in fact ideologues hell-bent on defending the notion of morality by backing a man of disjointed moral character.

By blindly offering their unwavering support just as a lemming runs enthusiastically towards a cliff, the supporters of George Bush erode the integrity of the Republican Party (which may never recover) and by calling themselves conservatives, undermined the true intent of this movement.


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