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Hearts and Minds

Fri, Oct 7th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The only people still supporting President Bush today are those stalwart troops hanging around the bunker - flat-earth Christians, Orange County conservatives, and the uber-rich who have come to expect unfettered access to the low-hanging fruit. These are the same people who get their religion from Pat Robertson, politics from Rush Limbaugh and news from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.

But now there is a crack developing in the facade of the conservative movement as they find that an impotent lame-duck president just isn’t up to the task. The nomination of White House council Harriet Miers (who?) for Supreme Court judge is a case in point.

David Frum of the conservative National Review called Miers’ nomination “an unforced error.” Good ol’ Rush was more to the point, saying it was “a decision made from weakness.” The day after the nomination, Bush was defending Miers, saying that the nominee has all the credentials needed to satisfy the Conservative Right. But it is clear that the nomination was no Home Run for the conservative movement, who expected another four-bagger like John Roberts.

A second example of conservative discomfort involves Bush’s plans for New Orleans re-construction, what conservatives call a “$200 billion New-Deal job,” ripe with all those “big-government” unknowns that gives the rich fits. They can accept historic deficits, as long as it includes tax cuts for themselves and $200 billion in borrowed money for an Iraqi invasion, but they will have nothing to do with handouts for education, health care and re-building the gulf coast. This has, of course, created a conundrum of sorts with the whole moral values thing as conservatives risk having their “compassionate conservatism” slogan replaced with a “heart of darkness” label in the minds of the majority of people. Bush found this out first hand with the administration’s woeful Katrina response.

The fight for the hearts and minds of Americans is no longer just a partisan fray between Republicans and Democrats, but rather a struggle for dominance by elitist conservatists over the body politic. This time around, the voters will hold our elected officials accountable.

Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht, who is seeking another term and going against his 1994 pledge not to serve in Congress more than 12 years, would do well to take notice. In 2006 he will be measured on how well he has opposed an incompetent president and his can’t-do administration. Voters will be asking themselves whether Gutknecht is an independent legislator worthy of our vote or just one more conservative idealogue that we can do without.

Did you know?

With the recent shortfalls in military recruitment, don’t be surprised if your secondary student starts getting calls from military recruiters. Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind legislation requires schools to release private information to recruiters unless a parent or student (18 or over) “opts out” in writing. Every school district has the “opt out” forms available or a parent or student can go to to obtain the necessary document.

I think they have this legislation bass-ackwords - schools should not be allowed to give out information about minor students to military recruiters, the armed forces or military schools without the written permission of a parent.

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