Friday, July 30, 2004

Bush as Ideological Extremist?

I keep seeing the same meme around the blogosphere, and it goes like this: "Bush won election by the thinnest of margins, and only by promising to govern from the center, but he's actually turned out to be an extremist." To this I can't help but ask "Extremist how?" How is spending like LBJ and yielding to protectionist lobbying on catfish, cotton and shrimp "extremist?" What exactly is "extremist" about creating a new entitlement that the opposition only disagrees with because it isn't generous enough? What's "extremist" about an education "reform" bill that gutted all the good ideas on this issue held by those within his own party, and which was bloated enough to meet with the approval of the equally bloated Senator Edward Kennedy?

Frankly, I wish Bush did govern like an extremist, by taking a razor to all sorts of worthless government programs, and slashing away at subsidies as if they were so much overgrown foliage. Instead he's chosen to govern like an old-school corporatist, pandering to any group he thinks he can buy votes from to the maximum extent his evangelical base will allow him to get away with. The problem with Bush is a lack of principle, not some mythical "extremism."