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Why Domestic Bush is Different from the Foreign Policy Bush

March 1, 2004

Let me say right off the bat that I will vote for President Bush in November. That does not mean that there are not areas where I strongly disagree with him.

I have criticized him in an earlier article I wrote for www.rightturns.com about the formation of the Homeland Security cabinet position. I agreed that the department needed to be formed but I felt he missed a grand opportunity to look at Commerce, Transportation, Agriculture, etc., and say one of those needed to be eliminated to make way for Homeland Security. That would have been a stop-the-growth-of-government conservative approach to the situation/opportunity.

I also was disturbed by the sure-to-balloon-in-costs drug benefit added to the Medicare program. The growth and successful implementation of vastly improved drug therapies over the last 30 years are a reason for our improved life spans. Whenever the federal government gets into a part of our economy as a player (ex., welfare, "public" housing, education, …), the quality of that part of the economy declines. I am now concerned that the drug industry in our country will now begin to decline. The only part of the Medicare bill I cheered was the establishment of Health Savings Accounts. Savvy citizens with conservative principles should jump on that opportunity because it will free you from an old age dependent on what will likely be a nightmare, government health care services.

In foreign policy I whole heartedly agree with the president. WMD's or no WMD's? It does not matter to me. A tyrant that persecuted his own people and that rewarded Palestinian suicide murders and that encouraged Arab strife and attacks on the West is gone. Saddam the dictator was a weapon of mass destruction. And we got rid of him and his loyalists. Pull out your National geographic map of the Middle East. Mark the countries we have liberated. Mark both Israel and Turkey. Now you can see the strategy of Bush and Rumsfeld. We are book ending the trouble countries with democratic countries. Iran and Syria will soon be turned. Saudi Arabia is not far behind them. This strategy will be recorded in history as being as defining as the post WWII rehabilitations of Germany and Japan.

So why such a bipolar president?

Well, I believe it is simple politics of reality. When we are attacked, a large majority of Americans want revenge and want to get rid of the bad guys. Bush's policy is supported and cheered by this vast majority of Americans, Democrat hand wringing not withstanding. So he has a foreign policy mandate to pursue what he is pursuing.

The domestic mandate is very different because Bush has none. Bush lost the popular vote, carried the electoral vote by one state, and does not have an ideological/ conservative majority in either house of Congress. As of 2000, the country is evenly split on a liberal/algore view of the future and a conservative/Bush view of the future. In that situation, Bush had only two choices: market conservative principles heavily to bring around more acceptance of conservative domestic policy or to walk the line between conservatism and liberalism and thus take away liberal issues from the liberals.

The animosity of the delayed election results via the Supreme Court all but squashed any opportunity for the former, i.e., do a Reagan and use the bully pulpit to market his domestic conservatism so as to win converts. So, he had to choose the latter if he wants to get more votes and longer coattails heading into this year's elections.

The liberals themselves understand this domestic strategy for that is why they are whipping up personal animosity for Bush. Issues will not carry them to the White House because W has taken those away from them. Personal hatred is all that is left to them. The Democrats tried the same thing with Lincoln. As it did not work with Lincoln, it will not work with Bush.

How can I tell if my analysis is correct? The only way is to wait and see what the 2nd Bush term brings. A few simple changes will prove my point: privatized Social Security, large pre-tax savings programs, and sustained Reagan-like, tax cut induced economic growth. Here's to hoping!

Sam T. Harper S graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University. Following a tour in the US Navy and a stint as Operations Manager at Roadway Express, he earned his MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was a contributor to "In Search of Excellence," the best selling business book of all time. Sam was also Manager, Economic Planning & Analysis at Sohio Petroleum, Partner and Chief Financial Officer at investment-banking firm Bridgemere Capital, and Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Contemporary Studies, a San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank and international publishing firm that specializes in self-governing and entrepreneurial public policy. Sam was a chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party and the GOP co-host of California Political Review on KALW-FM in San Francisco. For nine years, Sam was the co-owner of the Tennessee based Institute for Local Effectiveness Training, LLC - a management consulting, training, and coaching firm. He recently was the campaign manager for a conservative candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives who successfully beat a ten year incumbent. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Finance and Development for a Tennessee based company that is a leader in food safety services.