The 'Extremism' of George W. Bush

A liberal by any other name would still sound as hyperbolic.

One of the favorite names liberals have for conservatives — or, more generally, Republicans — is “extremist.”

They love to speak of the “extremist right-wingers” and the “out-of-the-mainstream extremists” and the “extreme radicals” that constitute a huge majority of the GOP and are reflected in their standard-bearer, George W. Bush.

On what, exactly, do they base their claims of Bush’s extremism and radical conservatism?

Perhaps they are thinking of all those spending cuts over the last three years. No, that can’t be it: discretionary spending, according to the Heritage Foundation, for fiscal year 2004 is projected to be up nine percent. In fiscal years 2002 and 2003 discretionary spending was up 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Maybe it was his strident opposition to the blatantly unconstitutional (though the Supreme Court would disagree here) McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. Oh, wait, he signed that.

Then it must be his refusal to further subsidize American farming. But didn’t he sign the $491-billion (Congressional Budget Office’s scoring) Farm Bill?

Was it his determination to shrink Medicare down to nothing by signing the $400-billion Medicare Prescription Drug Entitlement program?

All those bills he has vetoed . . . all zero of them?

Does the Left see his amnesty-cloaked-as-an-immigrant-worker-program, which he announced this week, as extremist?

What about the fact that the role of the Federal government in education ballooned with the No Child Left Behind Act?

He did say he would sign an extension of the “assault weapons” ban, maybe that’s the “extremism” to which they’re referring.

How about his support for the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action?

What, exactly, do liberals find so “extreme” about George W. Bush?

Sure, he’s pro-life, and he signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, but it passed with the support of 17 Democratic Senators and 63 Democratic Representatives.

Yes, he passed a major tax cut his first year in office. But as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product and of Federal revenues, it was significantly smaller than the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan and Democratic hero John F. Kennedy.

Many anti-Bush liberals will say they opposed the pre-emptive, “unilateral” (and, thereby, “extreme”) war with Iraq. However, the approval for the use of force came with the vote of 29 Democrats in the Senate and 81 Democrats in the House of Representatives.

It seems to me that either Democrats need to change their rhetoric about President Bush, or more preferably, President Bush should try to live up to it.

Go ahead, Mr. President, be “extreme.”