This time, they mean it

THIS TIME, THEY MEAN IT…. Byron York reports that conservatives felt “deep reservations” about George W. Bush’s “governing philosophy,” but just didn’t talk about it much. (thanks to reader D.D. for the heads-up)

Conservatives greatly admired Bush for his steadfastness in the War on Terror — to use that outlawed phrase — and they were delighted by his choices of John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. But when it came to a fundamental conservative principle like fiscal discipline, many conservatives felt the president just wasn’t with them.

You saw that throughout the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, when GOP candidates, while not mentioning Bush specifically, got big applause from conservative Republican audiences by pledging to return fiscal responsibility to the White House. […]

Republicans have again found their voice on fiscal discipline. And some of them wish they had been more outspoken when a president of their own party was in the White House.

As DougJ asked, “How long til they start describing Bush as ‘liberal’?” I’m guessing any minute now.

As a work of revisionist history, York’s piece is almost amusing. Conservative Republicans on the Hill backed Bush on just about everything he asked for over two terms. GOP lawmakers helped Bush add $5 trillion to the national debt, and didn’t hesitate to put two tax cuts, two wars, Medicare Part D, and No Child Left Behind on the national charge card, left for some future generation to worry about.

If Republicans were uncomfortable with any of this, they hid their concerns well.

As for the ’08 presidential field, York saw candidates committed to fiscal responsibility. If memory serves, however, all of the leading GOP presidential hopefuls were promising even more tax cuts, and offered no substantive proposals to either pay for them or balance the budget.

“Republicans have again found their voice on fiscal discipline”? If true, that would be an awfully convenient realization to make after their recent recklessness.

But in reality, it’s not true. Republicans, at least those in positions of power in Washington, want more tax cuts the nation can’t afford, and apparently consider military and Medicare spending off limits.

Indeed, let’s not forget an important story from June that went largely overlooked. The White House asked GOP lawmakers to come up with some recommended budget cuts. The caucus came up with a “bold” plan that would cut federal spending by about $5 billion a year — far less than the White House plan to reduce spending.

If they’ve “found their voice on fiscal discipline,” they’re not saying anything coherent.