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Conservatives View of Bush

January 01, 1991

It is fashionable these days in Washington for conservatives such as Bethell to criticize and harangue the President. Bush-bashing by the far right is so extensive that it's almost enough to make a liberal Democrat come to the President's defense. Almost, but not quite, for that's precisely the intended effect of this blunder from the right.

While it's one thing for the loyal opposition to denounce Bush, it's quite another for members of the President's own party to give him such a thrashing. (Imagine how embarrassing it must be for George Bush to endure unfavorable comparisons to Dan Quayle.) As Bush's popularity continues to plummet, and with it Republican hopes for 1992, quick and decisive action has been necessary. Attacks from the far right are designed to halt that slide by accusing Bush of looking too much like a Democrat in Republican tweed.

This strategy is so clever and subtle that it just might work. A few more months of harassment from the far right and Americans, Democrats in particular, might begin to feel so ashamed of those ungrateful members of the Reagan coalition that they will rally behind Bush (especially if it turns out that the President has led the nation into a war). Clever fellows those renegade Republicans!

But before Democrats begin shedding too many crocodile tears for George Bush, remember that while most Americans knew that Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, every conservative paying attention to party politics during the last two decades knew that George Bush was no Ronald Reagan. Conservatives knew precisely what they were getting when they helped to elect Bush president. Now the rest of the nation must learn to cope with diminished expectations, recession and the likelihood of war.

MARK P. PETRACCA

Irvine

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