Bush, 2008: “There is no conservative movement”; Update: Palin “unprepared”, McCain “a five-spiral crash”

posted at 9:30 am on September 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

During the 2008 CPAC convention, George Bush only mentioned the word “conservative” once, in the closing — and apparently that was no accident.  A new book by the man who wrote the speech for Bush, staffer Matt Latimer, retells the story in Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, and Byron York relates it in today’s Washington Examiner.  When Latimer tried to include supportive language about the conservative movement, Bush attempted to set his speechwriter straight:

“What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?” the president asked Latimer.

Latimer explained that he meant the conservative movement — the movement that gave rise to groups like CPAC.

Bush seemed perplexed. Latimer elaborated a bit more. Then Bush leaned forward, with a point to make.

“Let me tell you something,” the president said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”

Bush seemed to equate the conservative movement — the astonishing growth of conservative political strength that took place in the decades after Barry Goldwater’s disastrous defeat in 1964 — with the fortunes of Bauer, the evangelical Christian activist and former head of the Family Research Council whose 2000 presidential campaign went nowhere.

Now it was Latimer who looked perplexed. Bush tried to explain.

“Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say,” the president said, “but I redefined the Republican Party.”

I don’t think there’s any doubt about that last statement.  Before Bush’s election, the Republican majorities in Congress had worked themselves into a role of fiscal responsibility and a check on Bill Clinton’s more expansive notions of government.  After Bush took office, however, the two branches of government went on a spending spree, and not coincidentally a lobbyist lovefest, that threw out the GOP’s credibility on fiscal responsibility in six short years.  Bush and his big-spending policies (and K Street strategy) set the stage for the Democrats to seize control of Congress in the 2006 midterms and a Democratic takeover of the White House last year.

Many of us admired Bush for his stalwart policies on national security and the war.  But starting in 2002, we began to figure out that Bush was no conservative on domestic policy, but instead at best a centrist, and probably more of a Rockefeller Republican, with one big exception: abortion.  It started with his partnership with Ted Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, especially when he threw away school vouchers to keep Kennedy on board, and again with Medicare Part D, a brand new entitlement on an already sinking program.

However, Bush had never been considered a movement conservative before running for President. His father hardly had given any credibility to that claim in his single term in office, and George W Bush’s tenure as governor in Texas revealed him as a centrist accommodator, a man who worked across the aisle to get things done.  That reputation was one of the reasons Bush had to choose Dick Cheney as his running mate — in order to get movement conservatives enthused about the ticket against Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.

So, when he said he redefined Republicans, that’s not just arrogance; it’s the truth, and we’re still paying for it.  But Bush was wrong when he rejected the notion of a conservative movement, and very wrong when he calculated that Gary Bauer was the leader of it.  The conservative movement had to bide its time during the spending spree of the Bush administration, and has been vindicated by the spending insanity of the Democrats afterward.  It will outlive the Bushism that alienated people from Republicans as long as the GOP learns its lesson about the long-term commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Update: Well, if those quotes didn’t endear Bush to the Right, these about Sarah Palin will offer even more offense:

“I’m trying to remember if I’ve met her before. I’m sure I must have.” His eyes twinkled, then he asked, “What is she, the governor of Guam?”

Everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape. When Ed told him that conservatives were greeting the choice enthusiastically, he replied, “Look, I’m a team player, I’m on board.” He thought about it for a minute. “She’s interesting,” he said again. “You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose.” Then he made a very smart assessment.

“This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” he said. “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let’s wait and see how she looks five days out.”

On the other hand, conservatives might agree with Bush about John McCain:

I was once in the Oval Office when the president was told a campaign event in Phoenix he was to attend with McCain suddenly had to be closed to the press…

“If he doesn’t want me to go, fine,” the president said. “I’ve got better things to do.”

Eventually, someone informed the president that the reason the event was closed was that McCain was having trouble getting a crowd. Bush was incredulous—and to the point. “He can’t get 500 people to show up for an event in his hometown?” he asked. No one said anything, and we went on to another topic. But the president couldn’t let the matter drop. “He couldn’t get 500 people? I could get that many people to turn out in Crawford.” He shook his head. “This is a five-spiral crash, boys.”


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“This is a five-spiral crash, boys.”

Autobiographical.

itsnotaboutme on September 16, 2009 at 12:32 AM

So now that we’ve figured out this is the Pink Floyd troll who has been banned four times, can we drop the banhammer again?

Thats a lie. I have only been banned 3 times. And it hasnt hurt at all. I come on here to help out because the majority of posters on this site seem to be truly retarded. All this, President Palin, you speak for me crap is truly pathetic. Its embarrassing for you all but you all seem to be too dumb to be embarrassed.

SP may go 3rd party and be our own Ralph Nader and ensure Obama wins a 2nd term. She sure in hell wont win the republican nomination….that would require her to debate the likes of Harvard Law and MBA and self-made billionare Romney. That would be cruel and unusual punishment watching the tree stump debate the genius.

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 12:34 AM

that would require her to debate the likes of Harvard Law and MBA and self-made billionare Romney. That would be cruel and unusual punishment watching the tree stump debate the genius.

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 12:34 AM

And which state are YOU the governor of?? IF SP is ‘as dumb as a stump’ and you are the genius you purport to be then surely you must be at least a governor somewhere.

The only cruel thing here is reading your posts. I am torn between pity for you and the desire to laugh at your idiocy.

I’ve seen the same pattern over and over. We get a newbie coming in trashing palin. When they get called out for being an o-bot, they claim that they are a Mittite or Huckabee supporter. (once in a while we get a Ron Pauler).

“Oh no, I’m not a ‘yes we can’ man. I’m a loyal conservative who is trashing palin to make way for a true genius like Romney or Huckabee”

Heard that over and over before.

Oh, and by the way, I have taught grad level classes for over 2 decades. I’m not impressed by ‘education credentials’ especially a law degree (I am impressed by the MIT Engineering types though).

Nope Cap’n Ahab, I sees a whale, a white whale.. A great white whale.

bullseye on September 16, 2009 at 12:49 AM

Thats a lie TRUE. I have only been banned 3 times. And it hasnt hurt at all. I come on here to help out ANNOY THE HA COMMUNITY WITH DRIVEL because the majority of posters on this site seem to be truly retarded. HAVE HUNDREDS OF TIMES THE INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY THAN I. All this, President Palin, you speak for me crap is truly patheticSCARES THE HELL OUT OF A LIBERAL LIKE ME BECAUSE MY DEAR LEADER OZERO IS SCARED OF HER.

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 12:34 AM

FIFY

bullseye on September 16, 2009 at 12:53 AM

Those of you who say McCain or Thompson gave us BO are afflicted by terminal myopia. Bush’s ‘big government conservatism’ destroyed the fiscal restraint leg of the conservative stool that had delivered the WH since 1980 (save for a Clinton aberration caused by Perot). Bush completely undermined the credibility of the GOP at a crucial time in the nation’s history–when the credit bubble was about to burst. Years of “deficits don’t matter” allowed a quasi-Marxist asshat like Obambi to position himself to the right of Republicans on fiscal matters (!). This was an astonishing turn of events that was directly related to the Bush-DeLay K-street team’s exploits.

Yeah, limp-dick McCain and somnolent Fred Thompson were the proximate cause of the Obama miracle, but it was Bush’s unprincipled, recycled dog’s breakfast of a political philosophy that set the stage. As much as I loathe Obama, I’m not so sure that the country didn’t need his idiocy to shake us out of our death-like civic and cultural slumber.

Bush gets the lion’s share of the blame.

PD Quig on September 16, 2009 at 12:55 AM

‘Tis better to swat a fly than to hum along with it.” -T.R. OLL.

profitsbeard on September 16, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Spathi, we are not bound by Spanish law. Blasphemous as it might seem to you, a committee of foriegners making laws without authority from our elected government has no voice here. We are all above that law, not just a President. Don’t try demanding we sacrifice Americans to it, and expect us to stay dormant.

Chris_Balsz on September 16, 2009 at 2:05 AM

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other

right4life on September 15, 2009 at 3:14 PM

That does not mean what you think it means. Religious and moral. That is not a Christian only club.

I cannot find a quote where the Founding Fathers make the argument that only Christians can be moral and religious, notably because they knew about Deism and what it infact means. Rightly understood, everyone who is religious and has God(s) is Deist in the first principle, believing in God. After that they degenerate into the superstition of Revealed Religion and various mysticisms. And if the Founding Fathers did, it’d be laughable.

“As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?” — John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved–the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

Some did infact make the argument that Christianity is the best but by no means would they consider Buddha, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama among many others to be mere Savages unfit to live under the Constitution.

The Christian Right should stop acting like this is the case, they should also resist the impulse to push for a ‘Christian Nation’ whatever that means.

Holger on September 16, 2009 at 2:08 AM

Bullsass, you can ask anybody who has been around awhile. My conservative credentials are well-established and well-known. I get banned because I am bright enough to see what a silly flake S. Palin is and these Palin nuts who adore her like she is a Christ figure and have NO tolerance for dissent when it comes to this tree stump complain and get me banned.

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 2:08 AM

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 2:08 AM

BS. You are no conservative. You’re an elitist squish.

If you were truly a conservative, you’d appreciate Sarah Palin for her principles and her record of governance.

She kicked Joe Biden to the curb in the debate.

Now go crawl back under your rock, troll.

atheling on September 16, 2009 at 2:16 AM

BS. You are no conservative. You’re an elitist squish.

If you were truly a conservative, you’d appreciate Sarah Palin for her principles and her record of governance.

She kicked Joe Biden to the curb in the debate.

Now go crawl back under your rock, troll.

atheling on September 16, 2009 at 2:16 AM

I would appreciate her principles? Well, I dont appreciate the her principle of LYING about being against the bridge to nowhere. I dont agree with her principle of allowing her unmarried daughter and boyfriend shack up in her home. I dont agree with her principle of spending $100k on clothing for herself and her family members on the campaign. I dont agree with her principle that knowing and understanding the world is unimportant. I dont agree with her principle that using hick language like “makin” and “doin” and so forth is a good example to the nation’s youth. I dont agree with her principle of being so clueless that she thinks Africa is a country and cant think of any newspapers in the country. I dont agree with her principle of quitting her post and fulfilling the entire term that she was elected to do….WITH NO REASON…I.E. WHE WASNT BROUGHT INTO A CABINET…SHE JUST WANTED TO FACEBOOK, WATCH GILLIGANS ISLAND RERUNS AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHERE HER KIDS ARE. I dont agree with her principle that all “lame ducks” are just politics as usual and should therefore quit.

As far as her record of governance….you must be joking. She hasnt done anything of note in her entire 2 year career. HA HA HA HA. A one half of a term…wow, what a record.

No, it is possible to be a conservative, as I am, but not want to be led by a truly flaky and dumb person.

Yeah, she did OK in that debate with Biden…but the majority of people who watched the debate believed she lost. I didnt feel she lost…but the majority of people did. Also, one highlight was when asked if she believed in cap in trade she replied: “I do! I do!” Greeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaat.

Your definition of a troll is somebody not dumb and blind when it comes to Sarah Palin.

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 2:36 AM

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 2:36 AM

It is also possible to be a conservative who does not particularly favor Palin, without launching into ad hominem attacks and repeating every absurd canard as justification for opposing her. Whatever happened to “I prefer so and so” and listing his strengths? Continuing to tear into someone who truly has been publicly abused is not the way to make a case for a different candidate.

DrMagnolias on September 16, 2009 at 5:23 AM

In the Flesh

Well, well. I was wondering what happened to Poptech. What happened dipshit, did you puncture your inflatable girlfriend or did your mommy finally kick you out of the basement?

The jig is up. You might have fooled us if you weren’t so transparent in your psychotic, masturbatory hatred for Palin and didn’t spout the same tired old Axelrod talking points. You didn’t bother to deviate from the script in the least, blabbering your stupidity about the Africa/continent and carbon emissions/I do! I do! ad nauseum. Those are signatures for you, but being the infantile troll scum that you are you routinely project your own stupidity onto everyone else. If you’re going to hide behind another name, update the schtick.

Come on dickless, post a resume or two for old times sake.

OlympicLeprechaun on September 16, 2009 at 6:18 AM

Bush is an idiot and a RINO. He screwed the GOP, he didn’t redefine anything. If the GOP doesn’t pull its head out soon, we’re headed for one party rule and will end up a mess like Taxachusetts and Kalifornia. A ver very bad place indeed.y

dogsoldier on September 16, 2009 at 6:50 AM

dogsoldier:

No, Bush is not an idiot.

The thing is Bush never pretended to be anything he was not. He did not pretend to be Pat Buchanan when he was Governor of Texas and then turn into something else when he became president. He ran on education, he wanted to be the education president. He did not sneak No Child Left Behind up on people, it was part of his campaign.

He was never anything but supportive of Palin and McCain in the campaign.

He was not responsible for corrupt Republican Congressman who misused their offices for personal reasons.

It is just sad to see conservatives working along side Democrats to hurt the people Democrats want to hurt. They believe any silly crap anyone comes up with even if there is no evidence of it.

The truth is when Bush was riding high and his numbers were good, a lot of people liked him..when things got tough they looked for reasons to bail on him.

Terrye on September 16, 2009 at 7:14 AM

In The Flesh on September 16, 2009 at 12:34 AM

Strange that with the Democrats trying to take over a sixth of our economy and nationalize healthcare, we haven’t heard much from our Ivy League alumnus one way or another about this. I wonder why? Maybe he doesn’t want to bring up his own failed Romneycare he introduced in Taxachusetts.

Yeah, let’s run Romney in 2012, who couldn’t even beat McCain in a primary. I’m sure he’ll get crowds of 60,000 or more to hear him speak. His volunteers will be manning the phone banks and… I’m just going to stop there. Romney is not going to be the 2012 nominee unless Republicans want to lose.

alliebobbitt on September 16, 2009 at 7:57 AM

He was not responsible for corrupt Republican Congressman who misused their offices for personal reasons.

Yes, he was. The President is the de facto leader of his party. Bush might as well as hung a shingle out that the White House was open for business and K Street need not even use the service door. “Just come on in, boys.”

Again, I preferred Bush over Gore and Kerry. He was the best the Republicans had and the right President for the time.

Under Clinton, the Democrats had built up an impressive fund-raising apparatus, and it would be hard to beat them without a good ground game. Bush was able to do that, and I don’t blame him for encouraging lobbyists.

He did let it get out of control, though. “Wall Street has a bit of a hangover” or whatever he said was shocking to most Americans, myself included. This idiotic idea that housing prices would keep going up was unfathomable, not even just in hindsight. But Paulson and Bernanke are economists; they have their jobs, because they are supposed to be able to read these trends. The government and the American public need to get it through their thick skulls that the “bigger fool” theory of economics is not a recipe for long-term financial stability.

But there were Republicans taking bribes from these mortgage companies and investment banks. Not as much as Democrats in comparison, but we had both houses of Congress until 2006. Bush should have reigned in his party.

alliebobbitt on September 16, 2009 at 8:12 AM

I’m voting Libertarian in 2012. Wayne Allen Root. “Conscience of a Libertarian”. Read it, love it, change the country back to what the Founders started….Republicans and Democrats only want re-election.

adamsmith on September 16, 2009 at 9:13 AM

dogsoldier:

No, Bush is not an idiot.

The thing is Bush never pretended to be anything he was not. He did not pretend to be Pat Buchanan when he was Governor of Texas and then turn into something else when he became president. He ran on education, he wanted to be the education president. He did not sneak No Child Left Behind up on people, it was part of his campaign.

He was never anything but supportive of Palin and McCain in the campaign.

He was not responsible for corrupt Republican Congressman who misused their offices for personal reasons.

It is just sad to see conservatives working along side Democrats to hurt the people Democrats want to hurt. They believe any silly crap anyone comes up with even if there is no evidence of it.

The truth is when Bush was riding high and his numbers were good, a lot of people liked him..when things got tough they looked for reasons to bail on him.

Terrye on September 16, 2009 at 7:14 AM

He was not completely honest. If he had made his intentions on amnesty clear in 2004 I don’t know if I could have voted for him, but he forgot to mention that part of his agenda during the campaign.

DFCtomm on September 16, 2009 at 9:15 AM

That does not mean what you think it means. Religious and moral. That is not a Christian only club.

never said it was…just another ASSumption on your part.

but do you really think islam is compatible with freedom?? have you noticed what happens when muslims reach a certain percentage of the population??? check out nigeria…

The Christian Right should stop acting like this is the case, they should also resist the impulse to push for a ‘Christian Nation’ whatever that means.

Holger on September 16, 2009 at 2:08 AM

uh we don’t push for a ‘christian nation’ unlike you atheists who want to push christianity out of public life…

right4life on September 16, 2009 at 9:17 AM

change the country back to what the Founders started….Republicans and Democrats only want re-election.

adamsmith on September 16, 2009 at 9:13 AM

All politicians want re-election. The Founders were very realistic about human nature and government. Both the Democratic and Republican party work within that existing framework. People need to be more informed and active in their government, and it seems they are awakening.

But if another viable party wants to participate in our political system, they should start building their party at the local levels of government first. They are doomed to splitting the vote and helping an incumbent, otherwise.

alliebobbitt on September 16, 2009 at 9:26 AM

alliebobbit
Name one Republican who benefited in a criminal way and from bribes from mortgage companies. Link please. Usually takes a Minnesota Mondale Democrat who spews the Republican are as bad as the Dems also.
You know the best circumstantial evidence for Democrats being knee deep in kim chi is that they haven’t called for an investigation of the subprime mess even after a Republican put out a very good report about it, see IBDeditorials, use a word search and you will find it within one of their editorials from the last ninety days.
I mean really they investigated Bush for firing nine attorneys who needed to be fired, as was his right, they wanted to tax cow farts-that was priceless Mr. Beverly Hills,CA Waxman- But they don’t want to go a witch hunt for the people who wrote the laws that created this subprime mess. Owning a home was right, “Don’t you know?” in my best Minnesotan.
And hears the link to the Congressional report on housing that was headed by a Republican. Where’s the majority leadership on this?????????????> accent.http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=332121062189506

mdetlh on September 16, 2009 at 9:32 AM

I’m voting Libertarian in 2012. Wayne Allen Root. “Conscience of a Libertarian”. Read it, love it, change the country back to what the Founders started….Republicans and Democrats only want re-election.

adamsmith on September 16, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Republicans and Democrats are as human as any Libertarian, so voting L isn’t a magic bullet. The Libertarians would behave just as badly as the gop and dems if they captured power. I don’t view a third party vote as an effective weapon to battle corruption, some other mechanism is required. Term limits might be the best answer.

DFCtomm on September 16, 2009 at 10:05 AM

alliebobbit
Name one Republican who benefited in a criminal way and from bribes from mortgage companies.

Ed wrote about this, but I’m having a hard time combing through the headlines from January and February, which is when I seem to remember seeing this. I can probably search for it later, unless someone else knows off the top of their head.

alliebobbitt on September 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM

“Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say,” the president said, “but I redefined the Republican Party.”

as i understand it, conservatism means to “preserve” or “keep” what the constitution represents and the principles of freedom that our country was founded on.

anyone who comes along and tries to expand the size of government and basically ignore or “redefine” the constitution is therefore considered a…. liberal.

being that no conservative or republican needs anyone to redefine anything and doing so goes against the principles of conservatism, that sounds to me like — no matter what he says, bush must be a liberal, of sorts… (albeit, unknown to him.)

it would make sense…… because no liberal could ever do so much damage to conservatism from the outside. only someone who is carried as the banner of conservatism could therefore go against it and “redefine” it (when it never needs to be) and trash its good name.

the republican party then sways over to the left and the democrat party goes from the center-left and sways radically over even further to the far left. and the loons, the real radicals come out in full force.

voting libertarian does no good. the left will vote in lock-step for the democrats. splitting our votes over to a hapless party that has no shot at winning will mean more victories for the left.

we should not divide, but quite simply, get back to conservatism.

thedude on September 16, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Isn’t it funny how some twit from Bush’s White house writes a book, and the lame stream media runs with whatever the twit writes? Who is this Lattimer character?

Funny how another Bush staffer disagrees with the flunky.

Jason Recher, who served as special assistant to President Bush and as a traveling aide to Palin during the campaign, said the former President was well aware of Palin — especially since the two met in person in Alaska just three weeks before Palin was added to the Republican ticket.

During a stopover in Fairbanks on the way to the Beijing Olympics last August, Recher said Bush met with Palin and even made a knowing reference to her rising reputation in the Republican Party.

“The president was fully aware of who Sarah Palin was,” Recher told CNN. “Even so much that when he greeted the governor and Todd in Fairbanks during a re-fueling stop on the way to the Beijing Olympics, he threw open his arms and said “Madam Vice President!’”

For you calendar challenged out there, the Olympics started 8/8/08. That would be three weeks BEFORE Palin was announced as the VP pick.
*quote available at Texas for Sarah Palin

Blacksmith8 on September 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM

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