Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tell-All Book: Bush Brags He "Redefined" Republican Party to Exclude "Conservative Movement"

I'm not big on "kiss and tell" books from insiders, but this is somewhat interesting. Ed Morrissey reports:
During the 2008 CPAC convention, George Bush only mentioned the word “conservative” once, in the closing — and apparently that was no accident. A new book by the man who wrote the speech for Bush, staffer Matt Latimer, retells the story in Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, and Byron York relates it in today’s Washington Examiner. When Latimer tried to include supportive language about the conservative movement, Bush attempted to set his speechwriter straight:
“What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?” the president asked Latimer.

Latimer explained that he meant the conservative movement — the movement that gave rise to groups like CPAC.

Bush seemed perplexed. Latimer elaborated a bit more. Then Bush leaned forward, with a point to make.

“Let me tell you something,” the president said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”

Bush seemed to equate the conservative movement — the astonishing growth of conservative political strength that took place in the decades after Barry Goldwater’s disastrous defeat in 1964 — with the fortunes of Bauer, the evangelical Christian activist and former head of the Family Research Council whose 2000 presidential campaign went nowhere.

Now it was Latimer who looked perplexed. Bush tried to explain.

“Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say,” the president said, “but I redefined the Republican Party.”
I don’t think there’s any doubt about that last statement. Before Bush’s election, the Republican majorities in Congress had worked themselves into a role of fiscal responsibility and a check on Bill Clinton’s more expansive notions of government. After Bush took office, however, the two branches of government went on a spending spree, and not coincidentally a lobbyist lovefest, that threw out the GOP’s credibility on fiscal responsibility in six short years. Bush and his big-spending policies (and K Street strategy) set the stage for the Democrats to seize control of Congress in the 2006 midterms and a Democratic takeover of the White House last year.

Many of us admired Bush for his stalwart policies on national security and the war. But starting in 2002, we began to figure out that Bush was no conservative on domestic policy, but instead at best a centrist, and probably more of a Rockefeller Republican, with one big exception: abortion...


[Read the whole thing]
My Comments:
“I redefined the Republican Party.”

Yeah, how's that working out for ya there, Dubya? Better yet, how's that working out for your party. YOU are responsible for the largest Democrat majorities in Congress in decades, as well as for the current occupant of the Oval Office being one of the most liberal, and certainly the most pro-abortion, Presidents ever. That ALL comes back on you.

But you did do the "conservative movement" a huge favor. You showed, once and for all, that conservatives and Republicans are not the same thing. I will always admire your stalwart stands on life issues such as abortion and ESCR. And while you deserve credit for giving us a hopefully lasting legacy in Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, we will never forget that you're also the master practitioner of cronyism who tried to pawn off Harriet Miers on us with your patented "Trust me."

If what this tell-all reveals is anywhere close to the truth, you have reaffirmed our refusal to just trust you on the Miers pick. Good riddance to you, Mr. President. Enjoy your retirement, and please never bother us again.


UPDATE
The Cranky Conservative offers his take: "This should go over well".

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