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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What's an angry Republican to do in 2004?

In my series of posts about Republicans jumping off a sinking ship, I missed noting that former Republican icon and Senator Jesse Helms now strongly criticizes the Bush tax cuts:
"I would not have voted for [President Bush's] tax cut, based on what I know. . . . There is no doubt that the people at the top who need a tax break the least will get the most benefit. . . . Too often presidents do things that don't end up helping the people they should be helping, and their staffs won't tell them their actions stink on ice."
I know that Erskine Bowles is comfortably ahead in his attempt to capture John Edwards Senate seat (and keep it in Democratic hands), but I think this would make for one interesting TV commercial -- especially since his opponent is apparently ready to launch a massive negative ad campaign.

Heck, perhaps even Kerry-Edwards could run such a commercial in North Carolina.

I also forgot to note that long-time National Review editor William F. Buckley spoke out against the Iraq war this summer:
"Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago," Mr. Buckley said. "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."
Perhaps Buckley was following the lead of bow-tied conservative analyst Tucker Carlson, who challenged the Bush administration's efforts to use force to democratize the Middle East:
"I supported the war, and now I feel foolish," Carlson admitted. "I'm just struck by how many people like me -- who were instinctively distrustful of government -- forgot to be humble in our expectations. The idea that the federal government can quickly transform the Middle East seems odd to me for a conservative."
As John Tierney further noted in that mid-May piece quoting Carlson, "David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, wrote that America entered Iraq with a 'childish fantasy' and is now 'a shellshocked hegemon.'"

With all this dissent among the right's cognoscenti, you'd really think Bush would be having trouble with significant portions of his base. Take a moment and consider the title of Pat Buchanan's latest book: Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency.

Three decades ago, Buchanan was right there, with Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, working in the Nixon White House. When he was on The Daily Show earlier this week, Buchanan clearly signalled his worries about Bush, but didn't want to vote for John Kerry largely because Kerry isn't sufficiently anti-war.

Bush is very lucky that this election doesn't yet have a viable third-party candidate to handle the potential Republican defectors.

To all the uneasy Republicans out there, may I strongly suggest that you consider Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik, who is going to be on nearly every state ballot (all but New Hampshire and Oklahoma, apparently)?

Libertarians, like unhappy Republicans, are quite upset about the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and Bush's new Medicare spending and his sea of red ink.

Psssssssst, Democrats, Badnarik is about to run ads in Nevada (!) and it would be great if he could afford to run ads in Arizona too, and maybe even Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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