"Why conservatives must not vote for Bush"

From the Cato Institute's Doug Bandow (link):

George W. Bush presents conservatives with a fundamental challenge: Do they believe in anything other than power? Are they serious about their rhetoric on limited, constitutionally restrained government?

...A few high-octane speeches cannot disguise the catastrophic failure of the Bush administration in both its domestic and its foreign policies...

...Quite simply, the president, despite his well-choreographed posturing, does not represent traditional conservatism -- a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, constitutional restraint and fiscal responsibility. Rather, Bush routinely puts power before principle...

...[Kerry] could spend only whatever legislators allowed, so assuming that the GOP maintains its control over Congress, outlays almost certainly would rise less than if Bush won reelection. History convincingly demonstrates that divided government delivers less spending than unitary control. Give either party complete control of government and the treasury vaults quickly empty. Share power between the parties and, out of principle or malice, they check each other. The American Conservative Union's Don Devine says bluntly: "A rational conservative would calculate a vote for Kerry as likely to do less damage" fiscally.

For some conservatives, the clincher in favor of Bush is the war on terrorism...

Yet Bush's foreign policy record is as bad as his domestic scorecard. The administration correctly targeted the Taliban in Afghanistan, but quickly neglected that nation, which is in danger of falling into chaos. The Taliban is resurgent, violence has flared, drug production has burgeoned and elections have been postponed.

Iraq, already in chaos, is no conservative triumph. The endeavor is social engineering on a grand scale, a war of choice launched on erroneous grounds that has turned into a disastrously expensive neocolonial burden.

...Those who still believe in Bush have tried to play up comparisons with Ronald Reagan, but I knew Reagan and he was no George W. Bush. It's not just that Reagan read widely, thought deeply about issues and wrote prolifically. He really believed in the primacy of individual liberty and of limited, constitutional government...

A subscription or a free day pass is required, but it's worth sitting through a commercial.

Even if you subtract out that this is at Salon and penned by someone from the Cato Institute, it's still quite a searing indictment.

(Via reason . com/hitandrun/006698.shtml)


Cato is crazy. One example, Cato is trying to get Pepperdine law school to write an amicus brief to support the proposition that federal drug laws are unconstitutional.

The problem with ideologically-pure libertarians is they suffer from the same problems as liberals, islamic extremists, communists, socialists, etc: they push ideology in ignorance of reality.

No ideology is 100% right, and ideas that might be right for today might be wrong for tomorrow. That is why no one should ever let themselves make choices based on pure ideology (not reality), or follow anyone else who does.

Doug Bandow prefers to think pure libertarian thoughts rather than deal with the real world. Note that the Cato institute is for open borders. In its view, we need more, not less, immigrants.

Bandow specifically would like to withdraw all American troops from overseas bases. This sounds like a good idea, until you realize that in an age of ballistic and cruise missiles and nukes, our enemies can use third parties to hit out at us*. It makes sense to preserve a credible deterrent, and that deterrent comes from the ability to deliver instant punishment up and down the scale. And this requires foreign bases so we can provision our troops.

* As China and Russia are doing by proliferating ballistic and cruise missile, as well as nuclear technology to the North Koreans, who then serve as the cut-out for countries like Iran, Pakistan, et al.