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Selsdon Man

What about the spiralling deficit caused by Bush increasing federal spending by over a quarter?

There is major concern in Republican circles - Heritage Foundation, American Conservative Union and other organisations.

There is also concern about the Rovegate affair, the PATRIOT Act and the state of Iraq. Immigration, whilst important, is not the dominant issue.

The only thing that is currently uniting the Republicans is their hatred of the liberal elite and Hillary Clinton.


Selsdon, all the issues you cite, while of interest to the policy-making elite in the Republican Party, don't resonate with the average Republican voter. Using the deficit as an example, that average voter knows that, as high as the deficits have been, under the Dems it would be even worse. Immigration is an issue that resonates with the GOP rank and file, and an issue in which large sections of the rank and file wish to go in a totally different direction than the Bush administration and the major conservative think tanks.

Selsdon Group

Bruce, you are wrong. The deficit was much lower under Bill Clinton. The rank and file know this.

History shows that spending grows more slowly when the Republicans control Congress and there is a Democrat President.
The public is concerned that they the deficits will need to be paid for eventually.

Have you not noticed that Bush's personal ratings are at an all time low? The think tanks do not control that.

By the way, the US conservative think tanks (e.g. Heritage) are concerned about immigration.

James Hellyer

"History shows that spending grows more slowly when the Republicans control Congress and there is a Democrat President."

Are things like the Cold War and the evens of 9/11 things that distort these patterns?


Selsdon, I agree with some of what you say. I won't go into a point by point refutation of the rest, because I think you missed the point of my previous comment. I'm merely pointing out that the immigration issue is the main one that might cause Republican voters to sit out the next election, or go third party. Which was also the most interesting point made by the Peggy Noonan article.

Selsdon Man

Bruce, I agree with you that immigration will be an election issue but I don't think that will make Republicans stay at home - especially if "Billary" is the Democratic candidate.

James, my comment is true even accounting for the Cold War and 9/11.

Even before 9/11 and taking defence spending out of the equation, Bush has outspent Clinton by more than 25%.

Republicans in Congress oppose profligacy by Democratic Presidents but not Republican Presidents.

That is sad but true.

Selsdon Man

On the Bush spending, I recommend the following article

It argues

"If there are still believers in limited government cowering in the corner of the Bush-Frist-DeLay Republican tent, they might recover some of their lost sense of shame by picking up a copy of the Cato Institute's new book, The Republican Revolution 10 Years Later: Smaller Government or Business as Usual?

It's a bracingly grim collection of essays from people who were generally enthusiastic about (and in some cases, participated in) the GOP's historic recapture of the House of Representatives in 1994.

Take Stephen Moore, who worked with House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (R-Ohio) in drafting the Contract with America budget for fiscal year 1996.

"Under President Bush (and a Republican Congress) federal outlays increased 28 percent between FY01 and FY05," Moore writes. "Nondefense discretionary spending increased 34 percent during these four years.

That fiscal policy is exactly the opposite of what was promised by Republican leaders when they first came to power in the 1990s," Moore writes. "The tragedy is that many of the Republicans who led the revolution have settled into power, become too comfortable with their perks and authority, and are now mirror images of what they replaced.

The Republicans are now spending money faster than the Democrats ever did and have forgotten why voters put them in power in the first place."

Bush reminds me of Heath - remember the U-turn after the 1970 "Selsdon" manifesto?


Selsdon, the fact is, for better or worse, Republican members of Congress receive 10 emails about immigration to every one about the level of government spending. The Cato Institute, good people all, focus on the one, the ordinary voters on the other.

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