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Mag: Many Republicans no longer interested in Rove's theories
Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday May 29, 2007
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Conservatives are despondent with President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove, accusing them of abandoning the Republican party's principles, as they look toward possible defeat in 2008, according to a new article in The New Yorker.

A former Oklahoma congressman, Mickey Edwards, told the magazine that the Bush administration "has shown itself to be completely incompetent" in expanding its power and mismanaging the war in Iraq.

"This administration is beyond the pale in terms of arrogance and incompetence," Edwards, who left Congress in 1993, told The New Yorker. "This guy thinks he's a monarch, and that's scary as hell."

Newt Gingrich, who is mulling a run for the White House, says the "maniacally dumb" strategy pursued by White House adviser Karl Rove in the last presidential race cost President Bush all of his political capital and has left the Republican party in a shambles, Jeffrey Goldberg reports for the magazine.

Gingrich said President Bush was unable to positively build on his last election victory because Rove was running a campaign that focused primarily on attacking John Kerry, rather than promoting the president's conservative ideology.

"All he proved was that the anti-Kerry vote was bigger than the anti-Bush vote," Gingrich said.

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who resigned under indictment on campaign finance-related charges in Texas, also has grown dissatisfied with the president's stewardship of the conservative movement. DeLay told Goldberg that in coming years, when he is not fighting the Texas indictment, he plans to build a conservative grass-roots movement to rival MoveOn.org, insisting that divine inspiration brought him to that quest.

"God has spoken to me," DeLay said. "I listen to God, and what I've heard is that I'm supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican party, and I think we shouldn't be underestimated."

EXCERPTS FROM THE NEW YORKER:

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Conservative leaders have always entertained suspicions about George W. Bush’s conservative credentials—in part because his father raised taxes while President, and in part because “compassionate conservatism,” which was a mantra of Bush’s 2000 campaign, sounded to some dangerously like “big-government conservatism.” DeLay’s willingness to spend tax money in order to keep his party in power came as a surprise to those who believed that he was a doctrinaire, limited-government conservative. “Bush was never a conservative, but Tom DeLay was one of us and he betrayed us,” Richard Viguerie, a founder of the modern conservative movement, says. “He’s like a lot of these guys. They campaign against the cesspool. ‘I’ll clean up the cesspool of government,’ but after a while they all say, ‘I made a mistake—it wasn’t a cesspool, it was a hot tub.’ That’s what they called him, you know, Hot Tub Tom.”

Viguerie, whose new book is called “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause,” told me how the conservative movement has been undermined: “It’s not any one thing, but, when you add everything up, what you have is a massive overreach of executive powers, and massive overspending by people who claim they’re conservatives. Every President, with hardly any exceptions, will take as much power as he gets. That’s what Presidents do. Bush has tried more than most. And it was supposed to be the Republicans in Congress who would do oversight of the President, so that he wouldn’t get away with too much abuse of power. But they abdicated that role. It was all about the maintenance of power, and now look where they are.” He continued, “This President has strengths and weaknesses, but he has a major character flaw, and that’s that he will brook no criticism and his people won’t, either. And the whole Party gave in to him on that.”

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FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE HERE