Feature

How Bush begat the Tea Party

Why do Tea Party conservatives disdain Republican Party leaders?

Daniel LarisonTheAmericanConservative.com

Why do Tea Party conservatives disdain Republican Party leaders? asked Daniel Larison. Blame George W. Bush. The 43rd president was a creature of the party’s establishment, but when he was elected, conservatives dutifully fell into line behind him. But by reflexively backing Bush against liberal enemies, the conservative grass roots found itself committed to the “extraordinarily costly” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to Bush’s expansion of the welfare state through his unfunded Medicare prescription drug entitlement. Only when the GOP lost control of Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 did conservatives fully realize just what a “bad bargain” they had made. Eight years of Republican rule had expanded rather than shrunk the government, and turned a budget surplus into a record $1.3 trillion deficit. On top of that, their party was tied to “one of the most unpopular presidents of modern times.” That’s why Republican elders hold little sway with the insurgents now. Tea Partiers remember what happened the last time they compromised for the sake of party unity. Their credo: We won’t get fooled again.

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