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Alienated Conservatives
by Terri Hillhouse
18 January 2004

On domestic issues President Bush morphs into someone we don’t quite seem to recognize and who some among the base say they can not support for reelection.

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.

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