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Aide: Bush Abandoned Reaganism

Monday, 19 Oct 2009 07:54 PM

By Kathleen Walter

Principled conservatism modeled on the Reagan Revolution disappeared under President George W. Bush, according to one of his top speechwriters, and that in part led to his failures to control spending.

In fact, Matt Latimer says, Bush once told him that a conservative movement no longer existed in America – one reason why he embraced social programs and massive government spending that’s traditionally the formula for Democratic administrations.

"President Bush had run for president, as you know, as a compassionate conservative which was sort of a way of redefining what conservatism is," said Latimer, author of a bestselling book about his work as a speechwriter for Bush from March 2007-September 2008, tells Newsmax.TV’s Kathleen Walter.

See Video: Matt Latimer talks about his time inside the Bush White House - Click Here Now

Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer -- Click Here Now.

Editor’s Note: Matt Latimer’s "Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor" — Go here now.

"Now, a lot of conservatives like me thought that was a gimmick to appeal to people,” Latimer added, “but it turns out that's exactly what he meant."

Latimer tells all about his time with the Bush administration--as well as that working for Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld-- in his new tome, "Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor." A New York Times bestseller, it's received both acclaim and criticism for its candidness.

Though Bush was considered a conservative, he certainly had no sympathy for some of the leaders of the movement, Latimer reports.

"He told me he defeated Gary Bauer in 2000 badly,” Latimer said. “Gary Bauer apparently was the epitome of the conservative movement for him, and he said 'That conservative movement stuff is over. I've redefined the Republican party, and I wasn't necessarily sure I wanted to redefine the Republican party away from Reaganite principles.'"

Bush also abandoned many free market principles during the economic recovery.

"Early on in the administration, he did govern on a lot of conservative ideals of lower taxes,” Latimer said. “He obviously put two conservatives on the Supreme Court, but overall, his fiscal record-- his spending record-- was not conservative."

He says the president was moving towards negotiating with Iran and changed his position on many issues, including a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and climate change.

Latimer laments that dysfunction and ineptitude are all too common in Washington. He claims that, in the Bush White House, staffers were in over their heads.

"(Secretary of State) Condi Rice tended to escape a lot of criticism for her role in a lot of the administration's decisions, because she was very good in dealing with the press," he said.

"Vice-President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld were not as worried or interested in trying to cultivate the press, and they ended up getting bad press as a result,” Latimer said. “Karl Rove I found to be somewhat of a disappointment. He was supposed to be the architect of the grand realignment of the Republican Party, and you can see now where the Republican Party is. We have President Obama and (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi to speak against that."

Latimer describes President Bush as a smart, funny and quick leader who relished being decisive. The President also enjoyed giving aides and others nicknames, and then candidate Barack Obama was no exception. Bush referred to him as "That Cat."

While Latimer said Bush didn't refer to him by nickname, he suspects the former president may have one for him now. "I don't think the American people are being punished by getting candid information about their taxpayer dollars at work, and I felt an obligation to the taxpayers to tell them what I saw in an unvarnished and uncensored way."

See Video: Matt Latimer talks about his time inside the Bush White House - Click Here Now

Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer -- Click Here Now.

Editor’s Note: Matt Latimer’s "Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor" — Go here now.

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