Tyler’s earlier post (below), making the point that we should look to winning coalitions not promises to predict a candidate’s fiscal policy, is characteristically cogent (i.e. I agree!). Tyler is too easy on Bush, however, when he says “The high domestic spending of Bush I take as a sign of perceived political weakness (“we need to buy more allies”), rather than a reflection of Bush’s ideology.”
True, Bush did not seem to have much of a mandate in 2000, but he was quickly accepted by the American public, his popularity skyrocketed after 9/11 and he faced a Republican House and Senate. In fact, the Bush administration has been successful at promoting it’s agenda including the big tax shift, the Iraq war and the prescription drug plan. Remember that the drug plan was not something that Bush simply failed to veto, he actively bent Republican arms to get that bill passed. The issue has not been too little power but how the administration’s considerable power has been exercised.