October 13, 2005


Bush Criticized Over Emphasis on Religion of Nominee (ELISABETH BUMILLER, 10/13/05, NY Times)

President Bush prompted criticism from the right and the left on Wednesday after he said White House officials had told conservative supporters about the religious beliefs of his latest Supreme Court nominee, Harriet E. Miers, as part of an "outreach effort" to explain who she is. [...]

The White House efforts to promote Ms. Miers's faith were criticized on Wednesday not only by groups on the left and the right, but also by Senator Richard J. Durbin, the Illinois Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Some religious conservatives denounced Mr. Durbin when he tried to have a private discussion with Chief Justice Roberts about their shared Catholic religion during Chief Justice Roberts's confirmation process.

"The White House is basically saying that because of Harriet Miers's religious beliefs, you can trust her," Mr. Durbin said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

There goes eleven months of Democrats trying to seem less anti-Christian.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2005 9:28 AM

When they start up this line of attack during the Senate hearings, David Frum's NRO diary ought to be a hoot to read.

Posted by: John at October 13, 2005 9:48 AM

Face the music folks, Bush screwed the pooch with this nomination. It's always relatively little things like this that create major splits, the conservative coalition is becoming unravelled.

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 10:56 AM


No, it's the loss of Jeffords...No, steel tariffs... No, Medicare reform....No, spending....

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 11:03 AM

I thought it was the education act. Or maybe it was when Buckley went after the Birchers.

Hmm, remember when NR drummed the Birchers out of the conservative movement?

Now NRO is the Birchers.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 13, 2005 11:44 AM

OK senator Dick, if not religion, what is the basis of trust?

Posted by: Luciferous at October 13, 2005 11:56 AM

Cash transfers.

Posted by: Dick Durbin at October 13, 2005 12:01 PM

Anon - ditto what OJ said.

Also there are what, maybe a thousand conservative pundits screaming about the Miers pick? And 60MM voted for Bush in '04? what numbers do you think the WH is more concerned with?

Posted by: AWW at October 13, 2005 12:13 PM


If measured by government spending, Bush is no longer a conservative.

The WH is probaly more concerned with Bush's sinking approval ratings. Republicans in congress are worried about Bush's sinking popularity dragging them down in 2006.

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 1:10 PM

"measured by government spending"

Oh boy.

Sorry, what's spending as a % of gdp again, and how does Bush compare in this regard to other recent presidents, let alone other recent war-time pres?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 13, 2005 1:20 PM

Compared to Clinton, Bush is a raging liberal. As for republican elections fears (from a Newsday article):

The questions from his own party come at a time when Bush is seeing his lowest approval rating ever from voters, a majority of whom fault his handling of Katrina as well as his handling of the Iraq war. The issue over paying for Katrina even serves to link the storm with Iraq in the minds of some voters - with 42 percent telling an Associated Press poll that some of the $5 billion a month being spent in Iraq should be diverted to Katrina recovery. The one-two punch of bad news for Bush comes as some in his party are growing nervous that his sinking popularity could be a drag on Republican candidates in the 2006 congressional elections. That's part of what is prompting conservative Republicans to speak up, analysts say, and such questioning also will make it harder for Bush to keep his normally unified party in line behind his second-term goals. "They're up for election, and he's not," said Stephen Wayne, a expert on the presidency at Georgetown University. "We're moving into crunch time very quickly, and they are obviously afraid of the political fallout."

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 1:25 PM

Right, what's spending as a % of gdp again?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 13, 2005 1:33 PM

George Bush is not Bill Clinton. He doesn't give a rip about his "approval rating". (Assuming that the approval rating reported by the MSM has any basis in reality, of course. Which is a completely unwarranted assumption.)

Another news flash: George Bush won't be running for re-election in 2008. So nothing he does or says can possibly effect his chances to win th election. So he has even less reason to care about his approval rating.

Posted by: fred at October 13, 2005 1:36 PM


Measured by government spending the only more conservative president of recent times was Bill Clinton.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 1:44 PM

You'll find a handy chart from the OMB showing Federal spending as a percentage of GDP here:


Note the downward trend during the Clinton years and the excess of receipts over outlays. Then note the upward trend during the Bush years as well as the sudden drop off in receipts.

Snapshots are a silly way to analyze date, what matters is trend directions. And Bush's spending and debt/defecit trends are very liberal.

So I'll say it again, as measured by government spending, Bush is no longer a conservative.

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 1:50 PM

So you're saying Clinton -- who had no war to fight and slashed defense spending to get where he got -- is a conservative. Got it.

What about Bish 41, Reagan, et al.?

Is Clinton the real con, not Reagan?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 13, 2005 1:52 PM


Take a look at your chart and draw red dot at the end of the Cold War and at 9/11 then tell us what you notice.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 1:56 PM

Actually the downward trend in outlays began midway thru the Reagan administrations (about 1983 if I've read the chart right -somewhat before the end of the Cold War). Receipts increased over the same period reducing the defecit and culminating in a balanced budget and surplus under Clinton.

Both trends were reversed by Bush's liberal budget policies.

If Bush's spending trends continue, a fiscally conservative Democrat (like Clinton) will win 2008 in a walk.

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 2:18 PM

Promising to cut what Health or SS?

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 2:22 PM

OJ: I was amazed by the fact that, on your chart, we fought WWII with total federal spending of 44% of GDP. Cheap.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 13, 2005 2:34 PM

"fiscally conservative Democrat (like Clinton)"

That's gotta be one of the more hilarious five consecutive word phrases used here in a while. A perfect definition of a mathematical "null set" when you include Clinton as elected, 1993-4 (think Hillarycare). Like so many of his successes (NAFTA, welfare reform), running a surplus was only becase the GOP congress did it for him, despite his saying it would take six to ten years.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 13, 2005 2:45 PM

Doesn't have to cut anything in real terms, just cut the rate of increase, like Reagan did and Bush has failed to do. But then Reagan was a fiscal conservative, unlike Bush.

That at rescind the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (did you notice that sudden drop in receipts and the ballooning of the defecit during the first for years of Bush II?).

Posted by: Anon at October 13, 2005 2:54 PM


Yes, to cut the increase you have to cut SS, Medicare and Defense. Which is the Democrat going to win his primaries and then the general by proposing?

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 3:10 PM


Congress didn't do anything. Defense spending went from 6%+ of GDP to 3%.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 3:12 PM

Well, it was pretty easy for Reagan to cut the rate of increase considering who he was taking over from -- Carter and Nixon.

Bush is still under his father, Reagan and term one of Clinton in terms of spending as a % of gdp according to anon's own chart.

And yet, the sky is still falling. Whatever shall we do?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 13, 2005 4:14 PM

A Dem Congress would have found ways to spend that money at the same rate they had been doing prior to '94 election. They would have looked it as if they'd won the state lottery, and spent accordingly. So I agree, by just by not "reinvesting" that "peace dividend" the way the Dems would have, the GOP Congress in effect "caused" the deficit to shrink. (I seem to remember they tried to cut a few things, during the government shutdowns during the Fall/Winter of '95, until the Bob Dole For President Campaign sold them out.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 13, 2005 4:19 PM


It pays to precede your war with 15 years of Depression instead of twenty of growth.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 4:42 PM


The difference between Democrats or W spending like drunken sailors and the parsimonious Clinton/Gingrich is negligible. Just about the whole budget nowadays is entitlements, defense and debt service.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 4:48 PM