September 22, 2005
I never understood compassionate conservatism to mean, and I don't know anyone who understood it to mean, a return to the pork-laden legislation of the 1970s. We did not understand it to mean never vetoing a spending bill. We did not understand it to mean a historic level of spending. We did not understand it to be a step back toward old ways that were bad ways.The Republican base - whose guiding principle is fiscal restraint - has been more than patient up to this point. How much farther will that patience last? Hard to tell. And since Bush isn't running for anything, he won't have to worry for his own future. It's the next wave of Republicans that will be taking sides over this contentious debate...assuming of course that there even IS a debate.
I for one feel we need to go back to conservatism 101. We can start with a quote from Gerald Ford, if he isn't too much of a crabbed and reactionary old Republican to quote. He said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."
The administration knows that Republicans are becoming alarmed. Its attitude is: "We're having some trouble with part of the base but"--smile--"we can weather that."
Well, they probably can, short term.
Long term, they've had bad history with weather. It can change.
September 08, 2005
Even some Republicans thought the president should have met with her again. I disagree. President Bush has met with the families of fallen soldiers to an extent that exceeds that of his predecessors. But perhaps he should write her. I suggest a letter along the following lines:Maybe it would. But more likely as not Sheehan and her handlers would call a press conference and call the President a "coward" for not expressing these words to her face. They probably have a plan in place for just such a scenario.
Dear Mrs. Sheehan:
I have been shown reports confirming that your son, Casey, died bravely on the field of battle in Iraq.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic he died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
George W. Bush
Of course, this is a paraphrase of Lincolns letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby of Massachusetts, whom Lincoln believed to have lost five sons in the war that still raged in 1864 (it was actually two as if the number matters). When Lincoln sent this letter, he had no idea that Mrs. Bixby was a Confederate sympathizer in other words, that she favored the cause of those who killed her sons. I believe that even if Lincoln had known, he would have sent it anyway.
Unlike Lincoln in the case of Mrs. Bixby, President Bush knows that Mrs. Sheehan sympathizes with her sons killers. She has expressed her sympathies publicly on more than one occasion. But the president should send such a letter anyway. Maybe it could shame Cindy Sheehan into separating her political agenda from her sons honorable sacrifice and enable her to grant Casey Sheehan the dignity and respect that his sacrifice deserves.
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