(See my previous item for background on this post.)
A second, more crucial difference is that Bush is a far more radical president than Clinton was. From a purely ideological standpoint, then, liberal hatred of Bush makes more sense than conservatives' Clinton fixation. Clinton offended liberals time and again, embracing welfare reform, tax cuts, and free trade, and nominating judicial moderates. When budget surpluses first appeared, he stunned the left by reducing the national debt rather than pushing for more spending. Bush, on the other hand, has developed into a truly radical president. Like Ronald Reagan, Bush crusaded for an enormous supply-side tax cut that was anathema to liberals. But, where Reagan followed his cuts with subsequent measures to reduce revenue loss and restore some progressivity to the tax code, Bush proceeded to execute two additional regressive tax cuts. Combined with his stated desire to eliminate virtually all taxes on capital income and to privatize Medicare and Social Security, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that Bush would like to roll back the federal government to something resembling its pre-New Deal state.
Bush has antagonized conservatives more than most lefties are willing to admit. Social conservatives revile him because they see his limited outreach to gays as a slap in the face. They see his support of Affirmative Action (UofM) as a repudiation of conservative core values. They see his capitulation to Kennedy on school choice as weak-willed, and his abandonment of the Faith-based initiative as knuckling under to the anti-religionists of the left.
Fiscal conservatives are dismayed by his continuation of (and increases in) tariffs, his failure to contain the free-spending congress, his expensive initiatives in regards to prescription drug benefits, and his failure to push for significant reform in Social Security and Medicare, most of which were parts of his platform in 2000.
As for Bush's "enormous" tax cuts, they don't even reduce taxes on the top bracket to what they were when Clinton entered office, not to mention his father, or the beginning of Reagan's second term. Bush has not added tax hikes after his tax cuts because we are still being taxed too much.
Chait snivels that privatizing Social Security and Medicare will "roll back government to something resembling its pre-New Deal state". Not only is it not true, but by invoking the sacred New Deal, he is implying that Bush=Hoover, totally without any supporting evidence.
posted on October 02, 2003 10:28 AM