Far Right Criticism of Bush Portends 2008 Battles
For those who believe that President Bush is an extreme right-winger, it might be a surprise to learn that the President has recently heard a lot of criticism from his right flank. Paul Mulshine, writing for the New Jersey Star Ledger reports that conservative talk-radio host Michael Savage has lately been deeply critical of Bush.
Savage has even started calling rabid Bush supporters “Bush Bots” because he feels they’re too stupid to realize Bush is selling them a false line of conservative goods. The crux of Savage’s critique is that (get this) Bush is far too liberal. You’ll have to read the column to get the full feel of the criticism, but far right conservatives really do have a number of reasons to be upset at Bush.
Does this then make Bush a Centrist or at least a Center-right politician? Hardly. What this shows is that the flat-line paradigm of political affiliation is not (and probably never has been) all that accurate or telling. But more importantly, it shows that there are rifts in the Republican party. The same disagreements that spawned Pat Buchanan’s multiple candidacies could spawn a similar candidacy in 2008.
We will likely see three types of candidates in the Republican field. The social conservative/big business/big government model like President Bush, the protectionist/tiny government model like was Pat Buchanan, and the Center-right model like John McCain.
Which of the three types prevail will depend a lot on the individual candidates, but it will also depend on Bush’s next 3 years. If Bush’s second term is perceived by the party to be generally weak, the social conservative/big government candidates might have problems. And if the battle comes down to the protectionists versus the centrists, the centrists will clean up. Like the far left, the far right has far fewer supporters than it thinks.
Whatever the case, I would expect the storied Republican unity to fall apart the closer we get to 2008.