Friday, August 12, 2005

Republican no more—an open letter to President Bush

Dear President Bush,

I have been a conservative since I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. I believe in free markets, small government and a strong national defense (not to be confused with military adventurism). There was a time when that made me a Republican. Not any more. Mr. Bush, you and your cronies have thoroughly disgraced the Republican party and destroyed whatever was left of the principles and morals that gave conservatism the high ground.

Today, the high ground belongs to the anti-corporate, peacenik, blame-America-firsters. And today, I consider myself one of them. How could I not? You’ve done more damage to the Right than the Left could ever have hoped to.

You have robbed the national treasury with more abandon than Ted Kennedy on a four-year binge. You have lied with such blatant arrogance you could make Bill Clinton blush. Ralph Nader could never dream of discrediting corporate America the way that you and your Enron-loving, Halliburton-enriching, corporate-welfare-state mobsters have.

Republicans once had the country’s confidence in foreign policy. Let’s check your record. You took an oil-rich country led by one of the world’s most brutal, corrupt dictators and made it more violent, more oppressive, and more poverty-stricken than Saddam Hussein could in thirty years. Nice work! Mission Accomplished. Your “War on Terror” has created more terrorists than Bin Laden could in a lifetime. (Though to be fair to Osama, he didn’t have $200 billion in taxpayer money to spend like you did.)

Support our troops? Yes, why don’t you, Mr. Bush? Buy them some armor and spare parts and get them the hell out of that God-forsaken sand trap and back home into counseling. They’re going to need it after the horrors you’ve put them through.

As a conservative, I’ve always been against national health care. But we may have no choice when hundreds of thousands of troops come home with amputations, brain injuries and—mark my words—a new, improved version of Gulf War illness that will make the original look like a case of the sniffles, and in the process make “depleted uranium” a household word. (Depleted uranium: also known as “DU”—the shell shock that keeps on giving. Google it.)

Family values, morality, Christian principles. Slam-dunk issues for the Republicans, right? Not when you get through with them. By the time we extricate ourselves from this Mesopotamian hellhole once known as Iraq, you’ll have sent more Red State families to the Democrats than FDR. Because sooner or later, even the most die-hard, Fox-watching flag-wavers are going to figure out that you sent their sons and daughters off to die based on a blatant, premeditated lie. And you’re not even man enough to admit it.

If that’s your idea of family values and morality, I’d sooner give condoms to middle school students and “Heather Has Two Mommies” to kindergarteners. I’d sooner vote for Hillary. (Well, perhaps I’m getting carried away.)

And speaking of societal decay, liberal activist judges around the country must surely be awestruck by the ease with which you stretch and mangle the constitution like silly putty to fit your agenda. That crafty socialist Orwell must be marveling from his grave as you trample our proud constitutional heritage with a doublespeak masterpiece of legislation you have the audacity to call the “Patriot” Act.

Of course, it’s not all your fault, Mr. Bush. Our congress, Republican and Democrat, has probed new depths of spinelessness, with scarcely a squeak of dissent lest they appear “unpatriotic.” The mainstream press has completed its transformation from junkyard watchdog to whimpering lapdog (Where’s the “liberal media” when you need them?) but at least the traditional gumshoe detective is alive and well, albeit banished to cyberspace for not parroting the party line.

We certainly needed a national consensus after 9/11 but, true to form, you shamelessly exploited the tragedy to further your preplanned agenda. (By the way, I have a few questions about your explanation of 9/11, but that’s for another rant.)

To sum up, Mr. Bush, you and your PNAC neo-con traitors have done what all the liberals among my family, friends and media couldn’t do—you’ve made me leave the Republican party. Or perhaps I should paraphrase Reagan: I didn’t leave the Republican party—the Republican party left me. And if there are any true, principled conservatives left in this country, I suspect I’m not the only one left behind.

Sincerely (look it up),

Scott Pettersen