Cassandra’s Lament

Clyde N. WilsonIn a previous column I expressed irritation at those numerous folks who confess to having voted for George W. Bush in 2000 (and even 2004) because they were deceived into believing he was a “conservative.” For anyone believing that Bush was a “conservative” in 2000 the only deception going on was self-deception. Here is a little satire that appeared in Chronicles’ July 2000 issue. It is republished in my book From Union to Empire (hint, hint). I know from long and sad experience that there is no human achievement less rewarding than being right too soon.

Five Minutes With Governor Bush (July 2000)

Through the good offices of a friend who is a large contributor to Republican causes, Chronicles was able to secure a brief exclusive interview with George W. Bush—the likely next President of the United States. We caught up with Governor Bush in Des Moines a few minutes before he was to address the annual joint convention of the Midwestern Association of Funeral Directors and the Funeral Cosmetologists of America.

Chronicles: Governor Bush, you have promised tax cuts. Many people remember your father’s famous promise of “no new taxes” and may be afraid that such promises can’t or won’t be kept. A related concern is that the middle- and working-class incomes are declining while the rich are getting richer.

George W. Bush: America is the land of opportunity for everybody. We have to cut taxes to make sure people take advantage of the great entrepreneurial opportunities—like oil, and baseball, for instance.

C: Many Americans feel deeply that abortion is a sin and a crime and that its widespread acceptance is a sign of a sick society.

BUSH: I am deeply concerned about abortion. That is why I passed a parental notification law in Texas that is a model for the nation—to make teenagers notify their parents when they are going to have an abortion—and vice versa.

C: Many Americans are concerned about the militarization of the federal police and incidents such as Ruby Ridge, during your father’s administration, and Waco, which happened in your state. Do you think measures should be taken to identify those responsible and punish them, and to restrain such incidents in the future?

BUSH: I am the law-and-order candidate. As President, I will make sure the police have all the tools they need to handle dangerous criminals. When I am President, you won’t have dangerous bigots like this John Rocker prowling the streets shooting off his mouth. He makes me sick. I wish we could have him at Yale for just one week, but he probably couldn’t pass the entrance exam. And I want to assure my friend Charlton Heston and members of the NRA that I admire the Bill of Rights, and when I am President there will not be a lot of bad people owning guns who are not NRA members.

C: Governor, nearly everybody realizes that public education is failing. It is possible that the problem is too much federal intervention and that the government ought to cut back its involvement?

BUSH: I will be the Education President. I will make sure all our teachers are held to high standards without discrimination and all our students have equal opportunity to the highest quality education so that they are prepared to be part of the global economy in the New World Order—which, by the way, my Dad invented.

C: Governor, our readers feel that American military intervention in foreign situations has been too frequent and aggressive and that we ought to scale back toward a national interest policy.

BUSH: I am a conservative, a bold, compassionate conservative. America must always be ready when democracy is threatened anywhere in the world—like those people that invaded Albania. As President Kennedy said, you must bear any burden.

C: Many people are concerned about the high levels of immigration, as well as apparently unrestricted illegal immigration, which may be drastically changing our country. Do you think one million immigrants a year is too many, not enough, or about right?

BUSH: America is a nation of immigrants. We need immigrants with their talents and skills to take advantage of those opportunities that I said before. That is why I sponsored bilingual education in Texas—to help all those immigrants we need to have a strong, healthy global economy.

C: Many of our readers are concerned about what could be called judicial tyranny, that the federal courts have usurped the role of the people and lawmakers in deciding major issues. How do you feel about that?

BUSH: I am the bold conservative candidate for compassionate conservatism! I will appoint great Republican Supreme Court justices like Earl Warren, Harry Brennan, Clarence Blackmun, and Ruth Bader O’Connor. And I will make sure we have diversity on the Court.

At this point we were interrupted by staff members reminding the governor of his next engagement.

C: Thank you, Governor. This has been most enlightening for our readers.

BUSH: Remember to tell them I am the conservative candidate, the true, the bold, the compassionate conservative. That’s how we will win the Republican victory.

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