In the Washington Times today, Stephen Dinan reports some conservatives are growing tired of Bush. “I’m hearing a lot of anger,” says Richard Viguerie. “I’m beginning, for the first time, [to hear] people talk about ‘it would not be the worst thing in the world if Howard Dean were president,’ because the size of government would stay still rather than increase 50 percent under a second Bush administration.”
How insane is that statement? A conservative would wish Howard Dean on the country? And think Hard-Left Howard would hold government growth to zero? There are aspects of the Bush presidency that are maddening, from the lack of spending restraint to the lack of public advocacy for social conservatism. But really, no one should be wishing Howard Dean on Vermont, let alone the other 49 states.
Luckily, Dinan lets all the nuances in, noting that Viguerie said some of the same things about Ronald Reagan in 1983.(On the Bush family front, I’d add Viguerie wrote a tough little book with Steven Allen about Bush the Elder’s unease with conservatives in the early 1990s titled “Lip Service.”) Dinan adds that Bush’s approval rating within the GOP is high, and one conservative quoted notes that D.C. conservative leaders are probably feeling more jaded than the rally-around rank and file.