In the wake of the President defeat, grassroots Republicans are asking the question, How is it possible that the Bush Administration could make so many mistakes? Did Bush want to lose?
Of course, Bush didn’t want to lose the 1992 election! But his chief backers, the eastern liberal Republican establishment, cared more about maintaining control of the Republican Party than about electing Bush, and cared more about maintaining its pipelines into taxpayer subsidies than about electing Republicans. Anyway, this financial crowd has already established its ties to Bill Clinton.
In 1980, George Bush was the candidate of the eastern liberal Republican establishment which has tried to control the Republican Party throughout our lifetime and whose Presidential candidate for so many years was Nelson Rockefeller (and before that, Thomas Dewey). Those are the Big Government Republicans who consistently support high taxes, big domestic federal spending, foreign handouts, taxpayer- subsidized foreign trade, population control, and a globalist foreign policy.
The 1980 Republican Convention rejected the establishment candidate in favor of Ronald Reagan, who then, in a spirit of “big-tent” Party unity, offered the olive branch to the defeated faction and named George Bush as his running mate. For the eight Reagan years, Bush was a loyal and exemplary Vice President, which led to his own nomination in 1988.
Unfortunately, once in the White House, Bush quickly reverted to the big Government. policies of his establishment patrons instead of following the policies of the man to whom he owed. the Presidency, Ronald Reagan. The litmus test for political and social goodies from the Bush White House was to have been a pre-1980 Bushie, so Republicans from the liberal establishment wing of the Party flooded back into government and Party offices.
George Bush just didn’t seem to understand coalition politics. He was always condescending to Reaganaut Republicans and Reagan Democrats. They were not in his policymaking loop, and not on his White House invitation list. His WASP Administration kicked away the Catholic vote.
In the 1992 campaign, the Bush Administration tried to keep the votes of the Reagan conservatives, the pro-lifers, and the so-called religious right without letting them into any positions in the campaign. The Bush campaign people seemed to care more about who would control the Party after the election than whether it would be won at all.
In Texas, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, the pro-lifers got out the winning vote for Bush independently of the Bush organization. In Texas, the Texans United for Life distributed one million voter guides, Christian Coalition distributed another million voter guides, and National Right to Life and other pro-family groups mailed hundreds of thousands of pro-Bush pieces.
Pro-lifers manned effective phone banks in Dallas and Houston with dedicated workers after the Bush campaign discovered it was unable to get volunteers without them. In Houston, pro-lifers stunned everyone by producing 41,000 write-in votes for a local pro-life judicial candidate, and in so doing won upset victories over five Democrats in a state House race and four other judicial races.
After a year of media harangue that Bush’s pro-life position would chase voters away, exit polls proved that, among those voters who vote primarily on the abortion issue, pro-life is a plus over pro-abortion by a margin of about five points.
The media hype about the danger of a “religious right takeover” of the Republican Party is a strawman designed to divert attention from the power players in the game. The real battle for control of the Republican Party is between the liberal establishment types who gave US Bush (after failing with Rockefeller) and the grassroots Republicans who won with Reagan. There is nothing new about this division; it’s been going on since the 1930s.
The hysterical media assertion that the so-called religious right is trying to “exclude” people from the Republican Party is just paranoia. For decades and throughout the Bush campaign, the libera1 establishment Republicans have been ruthless in excluding grassroots conservative Republicans from Party positions.
The reason the liberal-conservative division in the Republican Party is suddenly noisier now is that, during the George Bush Presidency, most grassroots Republicans kept their mouths shut, hoping he would recognize the pragmatism, if not the wisdom, of the Reagan ideology. Now that the verdict is in on the Bush Administration and campaign, we can see that hope was in vain.
It’s time for grassroots Republicans to go forth into Party battle using the immortal words with which Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen denounced the liberal Republican establishment at the 1952 Republican National Convention: “We followed you before and you took us down the path to defeat.” The Reagan coalition is the key to victory.