Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan cites other attacks by Bush surrogates on the conservative base: "Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, 'We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up.' ... Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want 'mass deportation.' Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are 'anti-immigrant' and suggested they suffer from 'rage' and 'national chauvinism.'
"Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives?" asks Noonan.
Because, Peggy, down deep where they live, they don't like the right, never did and have always sought to be seen by the Big Media as the progressive children of a dysfunctional and retarded family.
Bush's attack on the motives and character of conservatives tell us it is Goldwater-Rockefeller time again -- time to split the blanket. Conservatives need to declare their independence of Bush and to repudiate Bushism as the philosophy of their movement and party.
While Bush's court appointments, setting aside the Harriet Miers mess, have been superb, while his tax cuts have been Reaganite, while his stand on traditional values is courageous, beyond is a vast wasteland as far as the eye can see.
His free-trade zealotry has led to five straight record trade deficits. While America's economy is now growing at under 1 percent, China's is booming at 10 percent. His refusal to defend and secure the borders is well-nigh impeachable. His compromises with Teddy Kennedy on No Child Left Behind have doubled the size of the Department of Education without any appreciable gain in test scores. His "Big Government Conservatism" marks him as his father's son, not Reagan's heir. In Ward Connerly's courageous battle against reverse discrimination, the Bushes have all been on the other side.
His bungled war of choice on Iraq has left us with 3,400 dead, 25,000 wounded, hundreds of billions deeper in debt and an Army on the point of breaking. Relations with Europe, Russia, and the Arab and Muslim world are worse than they were when he took office.
His clandestine drive to merge Mexico, America and Canada in a "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" -- a North American Union modeled on the European Union -- entails the loss of sovereignty and end of the republic as we know it.
The damage Bush has done to his party is beginning to rival that of Herbert Hoover. If the Clintons were doing this, would conservatives be mute? Time to lock and load.