Is Bush's Second Term Becoming a 'Harriet Miers Presidency'?

Watching the immigration bill charade unfold in the Senate, many conservatives have begun to wonder if President Bush left his political compass back at Crawford?

Conservatives were very happy with Bush right through his second inaugural.  But the Harriet Miers nomination was a shocker. There was so much conservative backlash that Miers had to withdraw her nomination. But, we were only some three months into the second term, and anybody can have a “Harriet Miers Moment,” trying too hard to thank a friend.

Then there was the State of the Union speech. There President Bush went “green” on energy, mouthing a line better than the political left or the radical environmentalists could make up, saying that America is “addicted to oil.” Wasn’t Bush an oil company executive once?

Someone should remind Karl Rove that conservatives like to drill for oil. What ever happened to the proposal drill in ANWR? Again, conservatives couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Was the Bush Administration’s solution to America’s dependency on foreign oil really going to be wood chips and switch grass? Bio-fuels were always a Democratic argument.  What happened?

Then, the Dubai ports deal accomplished something most conservatives thought impossible. Defending Dubai, the President actually lost his ground on his major strength, the War on Terrorism. Bush actually allowed the Democrats to posture as hawks on the national security issue. Conservatives were beginning to get numb with shock.

Now, Bush is praising Senate Republicans for working with Teddy Kennedy and Harry Reid on the immigration bill. G. Gordon Liddy is right when he says the Senate “just sold America out to Mexico.” Bush and Sen. John McCain will probably never understand that for most true conservatives a “guest worker” program is just amnesty in disguise. Conservatives care about securing the border. For conservatives, “guest workers” are still illegal aliens. For conservatives, the illegal immigration threat is about national security, not NAFTA.

A strong conservative base voted for Bush’s re-election in November 2004. The President has made a series of decisions that suggest he wants to move more to the center, something the conservative base does not view with favor. Or maybe, as many have speculated, Bush is truly a CINO (Conservative in Name Only).

Still, there is one more explanation. Maybe Bush has decided to work secretly for the election of Hillary Clinton as President in 2008. Since the 2004 election, Bush has gone out of his way several times to talk warmly about President Bill Clinton’s budding friendship with his father, Bush 41. Surely the President realizes that most conservatives still cringe at the mention of Bill Clinton’s name.  

But maybe the plan is to establish a Bush-Clinton dynasty? First Bush 41, followed by William Jefferson Clinton, followed by Bush 43, followed by Hillary Rodham Clinton — that’s how the dynasty idea would go. From there, probably we are supposed to return to Jeb Bush, to be followed by Chelsea.  

If that’s the plan, forget it. For most conservatives, even the mention of Hillary’s name is like the sound of scraping your fingernails on a blackboard. Conservatives might someday buy Jeb, but Chelsea? Probably never.

A “Harriet Miers Presidency” in which George W. Bush abandons his conservative base is a very bad idea.

If Karl Rove thinks the Republican Party will gain by pandering to all those illegal immigrants, maybe he should first worry about how many conservatives he is going to alienate in the process.

Right now, the 2006 midterm congressional elections are shaping up to be a major Republican Party setback. Maybe that will kill any thought that a “Harriet Miers Presidency” move-to-the-center is a good idea. It isn’t. Passing this immigration bill is probably a 2006 death wish for at least three or four Republican senators we can identify without thinking too hard.