George W. Bush: Big Government Conservative:
The essence of Mr. Bush’s big government conservatism is a trade-off. To gain free-market reforms and expand individual choice, he’s willing to broaden programs and increase spending. Thus his aim in proposing to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare is to reform the entire health-care system for seniors. True, the drug benefit would be the biggest new entitlement in 40 years. But if paired with reforms that lure seniors away from Medicare and into private health insurance, Mr. Bush sees the benefit as an affordable (and very popular) price to pay. Mr. Bush earlier wanted to go further, requiring seniors to switch to private health insurance to be eligible for the drug benefit. He dropped the requirement when queasy congressional Republicans balked.
So there you have it, from no less a conservative authority than Fred Barnes. What Barnes fails to mention is, that being a big-government conservative, to us domestic Jeffersonians, means combining the worst Mrs. Grundy aspects of the Republicans with the worst of the profligate-spending habits of the Democrats.
Also left unsaid is the dangerous tightrope Bush walks as a BGC. One misstep, and he could energize the Democrat base while alienating his own. That means that if Karl Rove doesn’t maintain his near-perfect track-record, W could follow the footsteps of the last BGC — his father — and be a one-term President.