The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Ripe for a Rift?

April 25, 2002

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 22

This article appeared on on Wednesday, April 24, 2002.

A major Washington, D.C. newspaper - not the Washington Times - published an article this week purporting that a growing rift is developing between the Bush administration and Conservatives who support him.

The article tells us nothing new but is a recycling of previously printed material about Conservative’s disappointments in the areas of x, y and z. There are attempts to make a connection between a promise broken by former President George Bush, (i.e., “Read my lips, no new taxes...”) and his son George W. Bush’s promises to veto campaign finance reform.

It can be assumed that other legislation objectionable to grassroots hard-liners, such as an education bill that failed to include school vouchers, is even more reason for the friction. But, let’s examine their claim against history and in the light of current events to see if it holds up.

Recall that in 1992, then President Bush had enjoyed a 90% or better public approval rating because of his administration’s decisive actions in the Gulf War. But then the war ended, and the nation slipped into a mild recession. You would not have known that the recession was mild if you listened to the hysterical way the mainstream media was treating news about the economy. But by economic standards, it was mild.

To be sure, not all was peachy keen for many households in America.

I myself was faced with heavy flak at family gatherings when out-of-work relatives hammered me – because they could not get to President Bush - about the situation. But their complaints had more to do with the fad of corporate downsizing than the economic policies of the Bush administration. They knew I worked at the Bush White House and had nothing to do with policy, nevertheless, they expected me to pass along a message that things were really, really bad!

Well, of course things weren’t that good – but only for a short time. The corporations around America used a mild recession to trim programs and managers deemed unnecessary and injurious to the corporate dollar bottom line. But soon, most of those who had been cut loose were able to find new jobs. Still others started their own businesses, leading to an amazing economic recovery.

But the liberal-leaning mainstream media made the mild recession look like a real crisis and made former President Bush look like a cold, uncaring lout by showing him fumbling at a grocery check-out counter that had state of the art technology. Never mind that few men or women who hold important posts ever shop for their own Cheerios. The mainstream media never lets the facts get in the way of a good story, and in this case, they were true to form.

Then the media played clips of President Bush’s golf outings and sunny-day boating trips to make a point that while the starving population was sending sons off to market to trade the family milk cow for something to eat, President Bush was living high on the hog! He had fine weather, leisure time and plenty of high-octane gas to burn in his boat!

This slanted and inaccurate picture of President Bush did not go over well with the general public, but in all my years in federal government service I had never seen a harder working man than he. That he took a few days off to refresh himself should not have been used against him, but it was. George Herbert Walker Bush had put in 17-hour days for decades in the service of his country, but a population with a short memory seemed not to care. They didn’t like being uncomfortable for a short time, and so they took it out on President Bush. The fact that he had agreed to raise their taxes was no real help to him at all.

Not coincidentally, the Clinton campaign had adopted the soured economy as their biggest hammer, and posted a sign, “It’s the economy, stupid” on their campaign office wall to remind workers to stay on message. I’ll leave it to the historians - if there are any honest ones left out there - to deny a connection between the dishonest news about the economy, the unfair cold-hearted portrayal of a good, decent, caring man, and the direction the Clinton campaign took.

The "grassy-knoll" side of me sees a connection.

Sadly, Bill Clinton’s administration got the credit for the suddenly recovered economy, along with the job of being president. Only then did our country get a hard working president. Not! I personally think that if Bill Clinton had spent as much time thinking about and chasing Osama bin Laden as he did trying to chase after Monica … well, you know where I’m going with that.

Have matters progressed to the point that President George W. Bush is in danger of losing the support of hard-line Conservatives in midterm elections or perhaps even down the road in 2004 when he faces his own re-election? That may depend on how long the war on terrorism lasts.

It’s fairly clear that the economy is on the mend after another short, mild recession, so folks (and mainstream media) can’t complain too much about the economy. The war has focused the country on real life and death matters, causing the health of the average sea turtle or the current state of the rainforest in South America to not hold such an attraction for those who normally use environmental issues as a hammer against Republicans.

During a time of war I don’t think the country is going to want to make President Bush’s job harder than it already is by giving him more pacifist Democrats to argue with, so I can’t see anything but good news in the midterm elections, for that reason alone.

And, even if gas prices are on the rise, we have those terrible SUVs to blame for that, don’t we? Having scared the average Joe or Janet with horror stories about the SUVs’ terrible gas consumption, I imagine it would now be a good trick to try to blame rising gas prices on George W. Bush.

And now the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate has failed to allow oil drilling in Alaska, so who’s to blame for even more dependence on foreign oil? Certainly not George W. Bush.

Can the mainstream media really be serious if it contends that hard-line Conservatives will not support the Bush administration and will stay home in numbers large enough to impact midterm elections?

Whatever has the mainstream media been smoking? Wait! Here’s something to warm the hearts of Conservatives everywhere! Since George W. Bush has taken office and given us a real Attorney General, illegal drug seizures are going through the roof - this, after eight long years of nonstop illegal drug trafficking with the Clinton administration looking the other way.

Now, there’s at least one issue that hard-line Conservatives can be happy about! The other reason is that everyone knows Republicans know how to wage and win a war.