from Bovard's Bush Betrayal (Palgrave MacMillan, August 2004)

Bush's Betrayal of American Conservatives

President Bush has become the King of All Boondoggles. Bush has long since cast overboard his conservative principles. Americans will be forced to pay trillions of dollars in higher taxes in the coming decades to finance George Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

* The Medicare prescription drug entitlement that Bush pushed through Congress late last year is the biggest expansion of the Welfare State since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The new handout does nothing to benefit most elderly, greatly increases the burden on taxpayers, and moved Medicare much closer to bankruptcy.

* Bush is greatly expanding AmeriCorps, the bogus paid volunteer program created by President Clinton. AmeriCorps members busy themselves putting on puppet shows to persuade three-year-olds of the value of smoke alarms, hoeing corn at tourist farms, and organizing "Pink Prom" dances for gay teenagers.

* Bush pushed the American Dream Downpayment Act into law. This new program will give free downpayments of up to $5,000 for favored moderate income people to buy houses. Bush claims the program will promote self-reliance - but it is far more likely to boost the number of mortgage defaults.

* Under Bush, American airports have been taken over by an army of 45,000 Transportation Security Administration agents. The TSA has done a far better job of browbeating grandmothers than of protecting Americans from would-be hijackers. TSA is punishing critics, slapping fines of up to $1,500 on airline passengers guilty of showing the wrong "attitude" as they pass through TSA checkpoints.

* Bush's No Child Left Behind Act greatly increases federal control over local schooling. The Bush education interventions have spawned as many idiocies as did prior interventions by liberal presidents. Thanks to the new law, many states are "dumbing down" academic goals in order to satisfy federal requirements. Though the No Child Left Behind Act promised to permit children to escape "persistently dangerous" schools, most states defined that term to claim that all their schools were safe.

* The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that Bush signed in 2002 destroyed much of Americans' freedom to criticize their rulers - at least in the 60 days before an election. As Justice Scalia warned in a dissent to the Supreme Court ruling, the new law "cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government." This is a far more dangerous suppression of free speech than anything that occurred even during the heavy-handed Clinton years.

* Bush criticized the Clinton administration for its "nation-building" efforts in foreign lands. But Bush's own nation-building efforts have become disasters. The $150 billion that the feds have already budgeted for Iraq is more, in nominal dollars, than the cost of building the interstate highway system in the United States from the late 1950s through the early 1970s.