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Opening Arguments

Talking the talk

Uh-oh. In defending his plan to use Medicaid dollars to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan, Mike Pence has a "George W. Bush problem":

Up close, Pence’s mannerisms are remarkably similar to a Midwestern George W. Bush, and I feel like his actions here remind me of a key problem with the Bush presidency, which could prove to be troublesome for Pence should he try for the White House in 2016. Pence’s attitude was one of relying on past defenses of conservative policy to justify his current stance: I asked Pence whether he really thought it was a wise policy, a conservative policy, to expand a welfare entitlement to subsidize able-bodied childless adults by taking money from hardworking taxpayers in other states – he said of course it is, or he wouldn’t have proposed it. So there’s that.

Of course, “I am a conservative, therefore all my policies are conservative” is a dangerous path to go down. It’s one that proved problematic for both W. and the conservative movement during his tenure, which went along with No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and a host of other questionable policy steps without breaking with the White House – an acceptance of Republican policy as conservative policy which was only reinforced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was only after clashes over immigration and the appointment of Harriet Miers that the conservative movement woke up to the fact that the White House hadn’t been particularly conservative, and had actually used conservative rhetoric to justify a number of very unconservative ideas.

Yeah, what he said. George W. Bush did as much to damage the conservative brand as I hope Barack Obama is doing to the liberal brand. In a very real way, Bush was the Herbert Hoover to Obama's FDR. Hoover tried to buy the country's way out of hard times by expanding government, which FDR then took to the logical extreme. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" paved the way for the madness we've seen under Obama.

Can't just talk the talk, Mike, you gotta walk the walk. For one thing, the base is fed up with faux conservatism. For another, the country can't survive much longer without some fiscal sanity.