Most conservatives do not see President Bush as much of a conservative. He expanded the federal government. He did little or nothing to rein in spending in Congress. He initiated No Child Left Behind, and the Medicare drug program, both of which we considered to be Democratic Party-ish programs. He often passed over strong conservatives for key administration positions. He didn’t fight for “strict constructionist” judges or justices (although he ended up nominating some good ones, after we had to slap him down a little bit for a silly nomination).
The bottom line is that he really isn’t much of a conservative at all.
So why is he universally reviled by Democrats and liberals everywhere? Why is he so often compared to Hitler and called a fascist? Why is he often considered to the right of Reagan?
To me, it seems clear there are main two reasons the left claims President Bush was “the most doctrinaire conservative ideologue we’ve ever had, well to the Right of Reagan.”
1) President Bush was extremely popular following 9/11 because he exhibited the leadership we needed. He also deftly handled the economy that was hit with the double whammy of .com bubble burst and the economic fallout of 9/11, and still got us back into excellent economic health (better, in many respects, than the Clinton bubble economy). Thus, the liberal-left Democrats had to destroy him. They had to paint him as an evil, jack-booted fascist; otherwise, the sheeple might end up continuing to vote for Republican Presidents! Horrors!
2) Regardless of anything else, President Bush made a strong case for the necessity of going to war in our national interest. This is anathema to Democrats. You can only go to war when national interest is NOT at stake (and perhaps only when a Democrat is President and needs a boost for re-election or to distract from embarrassing revelations). President Bush made people the American populace believe it is a good thing for a conservative President to direct a strong military to use force to impose our will on our opponents, increase capitalism, and work for the benefit of our national interest . This would overturn all the “lessons we learned” from Vietnam! Not even Reagan did that!