It seems we have
a perplexing problem among conservatives in our country. On the one hand
we have a very popular president supported by his base on foreign policy
issues, terrorism, the war in Iraq and for his character. But on domestic
issues this popular man morphs into someone we don’t quite seem to recognize
and who some among the base say they can not support for reelection.
This president has a predilection for big spending entitlement bills and
for taking the issues of self important Democrats like Ted Kennedy only to
establish them as his own. Most recently he has committed the ultimate cardinal
sin by putting forth a policy that would legalize the status of many of the
eight to ten million illegal immigrants in this country.
While I share the angst of my conservative brothers and sisters, I cannot
support the alternative offered by angry conservatives because they don’t
really have one.
The last time the American electorate wanted to “send a message” to an unresponsive
Republican Party they sent it to the first President Bush in the form of
a vote for a funny looking little man with big ears, named Ross Perot. The
message that they were “fed up and they weren’t going to take it anymore”
was garbled in transmission and the message received by America was eight
years of Bill Clinton.
Those “sending a message” this year may send Howard Dean or Wesley Clark
to the White House. Probably not by directly voting for another funny looking
little man, but by staying home or by writing in a name, that has no chance
of winning as a protest vote.
Who are these people? Check into any conservative Internet forum and you
will see them. Tune into any conservative radio show and you will hear them.
You will recognize them by their anger and by the fact that they can turn
any topic into a platform for their dissatisfaction with President Bush.
Oh, you thought it was liberals who hated the president? Well yes, they do,
but so do some on the right and they have more in common with their leftist
brethren than they realize. I always thought it was liberals who threw temper
tantrums and whined but they have some company in their misery now. Stranger
bedfellows we have not seen in recent political history.
Do these unhappy conservatives have valid complaints? Yes indeed, they certainly
do. Is the solution to stay home from the polls or to actually vote for a
very leftwing Democrat as some say they will do?
Are they going to be happier if their efforts to get others to join them
in their bitter campaign succeed and George Bush is defeated?
I don’t think so but we may find out.
We’ve all heard the song that was very popular right after 9/11, “Have You
Forgotten?” The title of that song is my question for all the Bush bashers,
no matter how good their reasons.
Have you forgotten the helpless feeling of watching that second plane slam
into the World Trade Center or the sight of the Pentagon on fire? Have you
forgotten seeing your fellow Americans fall from the high floors of a skyscraper?
What do you think the last thoughts of those Americans were? I’m willing
to guarantee you that they were not thinking of too much money spent on entitlements
nor were they thinking of new policy for illegal aliens.
President Bush has done his job by taking it to the terrorists where it hurt
them the most. They will hit us again and when they do I don’t want my leader
calling Kofi Annan to ask him what to do next.
When I find myself alone in that voting booth on Election Day 2004, I will
know that there is really only one issue on that day. I will know what that
issue is and which chad should not be left hanging.
Terri Hillhouse is the Op-Ed Editor and Colorado State Editor for GOPUSA.