If the Republican Party has any chance of regaining its leading position, it must put to "death" George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism," says top talker Glenn Beck.
Beck, a rising ratings star at Fox News and one the nation's leading talk hosts, has earned his popularity taking on some of the most cherished shibboleths of the Republican establishment.
During a Fox News interview with top radio talker Rush Limbaugh this past Thursday, Beck used the occasion to slam Bush's policies as inherently detrimental to core Republican principles.
Beck asked Limbaugh: "Rush, will you — help me out on this, because you always get thrown under the bus, that — well, you know, where were you when George Bush was spending, et cetera, et cetera. Address — because I — I have to tell you, the Republican Party doesn't get it. You just said, echoed again what I was saying about the progressive Republicans. George Bush, this compassionate conservative movement has got to die a violent death."
Limbaugh agreed with Beck's assessment that Bush had gone off the GOP reservation.
Limbaugh responded: "Yes, Glenn, let me tell you something. I don't — personally, I don't mind people asking me that question, 'Where were you with all the spending?' I remember — I don't want to mention any names — I was getting phone calls from people in the White House angry because I was opposed to every attempt they made to amnesty. I was opposed to the Medicare expansion. . . And they have found a way and called me mad as he can be. 'What do you mean this is good — good in the private sector?' I said, 'No, it's an entitlement and Republicans don't do that.' . . . but the elected Republicans — here's the problem with it — when you're a Republican and your president is a Republican, you have to go along with it. If you break from him, then you got party disunity and so forth."
President George W. Bush was the largest social spender in history, according to a recent report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. In his first term Bush increased discretionary spending 19 percent. During Bush's second term federal spending increased 49 percent.
The Mercatus Center said Bush's spending made President Bill Clinton's administration look conservative.
The Center noted: "Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent."
Beck suggested the stakes are high unless the GOP gets back to its roots.
He told Limbaugh: "And I'll tell you, they keep making the argument that if you vote for a conservative — oh, well, we're going to round up, you know, all of the unwed mothers and throw them in furnaces or whatever it is. That's not what this movement is about, at all. You're right on the social aspect. What this movement is about is they are destroying our children's future. Look, I don't care what you do in your own bedroom. You — we won't have a bedroom left anymore. We're all going to be living in Hooverville or Obamaville if we don't stop the spending."
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