This week I am determined to talk about something other than the Democratic Primary. Thankfully, things have pretty much settled down. John Kerry will be the nominee, and if he’s smart he’ll nominate his hair to be his Vice President. John Edwards is still campaigning for the V.P. nod, though he won’t admit it. Wes Clark is wandering around aimlessly in numerous sweaters until he’s told that no one cares, and we all wait breathlessly for Dennis Kucinich to explain to us how he, as a munchkin from the Land of Oz, managed to run for the presidency. Oh, yes, and Howard Dean. Dean will continue to make his “last stand” in, “Wisconsin, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii, New York, California….Yeeeeearh!” Whatever. But let us get to something more important, like the fact that President George Bush is in very bad straits with his base. For those who will wish to analyze this article, I would ask you to look at this as an example of conservatism at work. If you ask most self-identified conservatives we will most likely tell you that we are, “a conservative first, and a Republican second.” This is the situation as it concerns Bush. Many conservatives are upset, and rightly so, with the utter lack of fiscal restraint on the part of the president and the GOP Congress. For those of you who are about to chime in with “down with tax cuts,” please just stop right there. The problem is not with the tax cuts, but with spending. So feel free to claim it’s the tax cuts, but don’t be surprised if I smack you with a basic economics textbook until you look like the physical equivalent of a Laffer Curve. The problem is as simple as one number. Zero – as in zero vetoes used by Bush to curb the spending on the part of the government. The Medicare bill, which has now ballooned from an estimated $400 billion to $534 billion, has been the final straw for many conservatives. Unfortunately, there are many other distressing numbers. Non-defense spending by Congress after Sept. 11 grew by 11 percent. Federal spending is now at $20,000 per household. Discretionary spending has grown by 27 percent over the past two years. Education spending has risen by 65 percent. The space initiative is estimated to cost between $500 billion and one trillion dollars. An energy plan that is on Bush’s “wish list” is estimated at $75 billion.More distressing than that, however, is what isn’t seen. In areas such as education as well as Medicare, conservatives were willing to take a hike in spending in the belief that the trade off would be much-needed reforms. In education, for instance, increased spending was to be balanced by school choice vouchers. These, in case you were wondering, never made it into the final bill. Though to some degree this information is good for discrediting the notion that Bush is rapidly slashing benefits to all sorts of people, it makes a fiscal conservative shudder. His new budget pledges to keep discretionary funding at a four percent increase, but for many of us that’s locking the barn door after the horse escaped.Other issues have riled his base, besides his penchant for spending, like his immigration policy. Now I haven’t come to my own decision on his immigration policy. Whatever he says, it is an amnesty of sorts for illegal immigrants. Also, I don’t see how it’s supposed to prevent illegal immigration in the future. At the same time I do recognize something has to be done about the eight-to-ten million illegal immigrants in this country. And, apart from some “pie-in-they-sky” conservatives, I really don’t think we can manage to deport them all. Therefore, Bush is at least attempting to deal with a tough issue that we can’t merely wish away. All of this, however, is riling his base. At a recent GOP convention, Karl Rove and Bush’s OMB director got both barrels from the Congress. Many are upset with his immigration policy and other stands to the point at which it’s hurting the congressional Republican base of support. At the same time, many of us conservatives are questioning why exactly the Congress is yelling at Bush – I think both are at fault. In any case, these huge issues need to be addressed. Bush, as Terry McAuliffe has noted, has solidified the Democratic base, much as Gore did for the Republicans in 2000. The election will most likely be decided by the independents. If Bush does not assure his base, he is in dangerous territory, as he can’t move on initiatives to capture the center. So let this be a word of caution to the Bush administration – be careful, your base is watching. Clemm can be reached at rclemm@campustimes.org.



Israeli-Palestinian conflict reporting disclosures

The Campus Times is a club student newspaper with a small reporting staff at a small, private University. We are…

5 students banned from campus for Gaza solidarity encampment

UR has been banning community members from campus since November for on-campus protests, but the first bans for current students were issued this weekend.

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.