Hard core party loyalists who damned Bush for his record deficit spending seem quiet about the multiples of prior deficits the Obama Administration has accumulated . Rather than apply the same standards to their president, they question where the Republicans fiscal conservatives were when Bush was president.
A quick Google search reveals many conservatives who warned of Bush reckless deficits.
Among them was Jonah Goldberg in the National Review in 2004, George W. Bush, Preservative, Has government become the answer?
But what troubles me is that we are replacing a dogma that says “government is the problem” with a new dogma, which says that government is the answer. When conservatives violated the old dogma, it was usually when the need was fairly obvious and pressing – and even then we got it wrong more often than right. Nixon created the EPA, implemented price controls, and imposed quota-style affirmative action all because “people were hurting.”
With this new “too-sweet” “compassionate conservative” ideology, the danger is we will fix things when they aren’t broken. George Bush is making this the new reflex position of the GOP, and that worries me. My guess is the president’s state of the union will elicit a Deanesque YEAARGH (or whatever it was). The liberals will no doubt say Bush’s ideas are too hot, but conservatives will recognize they are really too sweet. But we’ll both agree on the locus horribilis of the pain he’s giving us.
And Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal in 2005, ‘Whatever It Takes’ Is Bush’s big spending a bridge to nowhere?
Mr. Bush started spending after 9/11. Again, anything to avoid a second level fight that distracts from the primary fight, the war on terror. That is, Mr. Bush had his reasons. They were not foolish. At the time they seemed smart. But four years later it is hard for a conservative not to protest. Some big mistakes have been made.
First and foremost Mr. Bush has abandoned all rhetorical ground. He never even speaks of high spending. He doesn’t argue against it, and he doesn’t make the moral case against it. When forced to spend, Reagan didn’t like it, and he said so. He also tried to cut. Mr. Bush seems to like it and doesn’t try to cut. He doesn’t warn that endless high spending can leave a nation tapped out and future generations hemmed in. In abandoning this ground Bush has abandoned a great deal–including a primary argument of conservatism and a primary reason for voting Republican. And who will fill this rhetorical vacuum? Hillary Clinton. She knows an opening when she sees one, and knows her base won’t believe her when she decries waste.
Second, Mr. Bush seems not to be noticing that once government spending reaches a new high level it is very hard to get it down, even a little, ever. So a decision to raise spending now is in effect a decision to raise spending forever
I contended that the spending was justified to overcome the possible unknown effects from 9/11 but that it soon needed to be reversed, and Bush never did. Government can solve any problem, it must only decide how to pay for it- taxes, debt or inflation. We are way past any ability to grow out of this deficit as we have done in the past. We have placed so many people on the dole that any serious cut in federal spending will cause severe civil unrest.
Comparing Bush’s deficits, which were extreme, to this regime is like comparing assault and battery to genocide.