Burning Bush

Illustration by Bob AulDuring George W. Bush's recent keynote address to the 40th anniversary black-tie banquet of the American Conservative Union (ACU), everyone rose repeatedly to applaud the president's remarks—everyone, that is, except conservative stalwart Donald Devine. As columnist Robert Novak reported on May 20 (“Bush's Shaky Base”), ACU vice chairman Devine is among a growing contingent of bedrock conservatives who've had it up to here with Dubya. Like many Americans of all philosophical stripes, Devine is concerned about what the U.S. is doing in Iraq and where it is going. But what's really got the 67-year-old former University of Maryland political-science professor, senior Reagan administration official and Bob Dole presidential-campaign adviser's goat is the steady growth of government under this Republican president. A study by the conservative Heritage Foundation last December showed government spending had exceeded $20,000 per household for the first time since World War II. Devine, who refused to shake hands with the president at the ACU event, points out that Bush's spending far exceeds his recent “liberal” predecessors.

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