Brent Bozell thinks I have fallen from the ranks of true conservatives and wrote a scathing blog on his website listing my offenses against Republicanism. Judging from the harshness of his tone, you would think that I threw my lot in with a pack of pot smoking Greenwich Village Marxists or, at the very least, lent grudging support to the public option.
But no. My crimes against conservatism were much worse. Brent Bozell has accused me of committing the unpardonable sins of saying unflattering things about George W. Bush, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
The truth is that while I campaigned for President Bush and supported him in both of his runs for president, I became disillusioned with his presidency earlier than most. I wrote the book "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day" in 2004, and predicted if Mr. Bush and the GOP Congress didn't stop spending money at such a reckless rate, they would lose their majority and wreck the Congress.
Even though I was correct on both counts, I received a firestorm of criticism from Washington conservatives who blog on sites like Newsbusters. Their main complaint seemed to be that I was being too tough on Mr. Bush.
History has proven that, if anything, I was not tough enough on an administration that doubled the national debt and turned a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a $1 trillion debt. Most other Republicans who trashed me for years--ironically calling me a RINO (Republican In Name Only) for being critical of my party for spending too much money--put party loyalty over conservative principles.
As I said at the time to these statist Republicans, my positions on taxes, spending and limited government have not changed one bit since the first day I walked into Congress in 1994 when I was known as a right-wing zealot.
Unfortunately, it was the Republican leadership who became more liberal with Americans' tax dollars and it was large swaths of the Washington conservative establishment who sat silently by because they enjoyed being in power so much that they never bothered to let their principles get in the way of supporting reckless GOP party bosses. Speaking truth to power was not in vogue when Republicans were in charge. That spinelessness led to a Pelosi speakership.
While I am glad that most conservatives now agree with my views regarding George W. Bush, I wish they would have shown a little courage when he was in the White House instead of trashing the few conservatives who dared to tell the truth.
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