David Tucker (see below) expresses with his usual dyspepsia the skepticism many conservatives have had toward Bush since before he was elected in 2000. I had a conversation with Rich Lowry of National Review last spring in which we agreed that we needed to get Bush safely re-elected on November 2, and then begin attacking him on November 3 to slow up his big government conservatism.
To Davids question about whether there is a strategy to ebb away from "big government conservatism" (which is merely low budget liberalism, and not all that low-budget any more), the answer is emphatically Yes. Bushs "ownership society" theme, and the specific policies that flow from it, should be taken more seriously. Remembering the lesson we learned during the Reagan years, Bush knows that a direct assault on government programs is unlikley to succeed. So, to reduce the supply of government, it is necessary first to reduce the demand for it. One way of reducing the demand for it is to transform by degrees entitlement programs into equity programs, i.e., Social Security privatization, and especially health care, with private, portable accounts, etc.
Whether Bush can get this through Congress, and then whether it will have the desired political effect in the fullness of time, may be doubted. But is does constitute a serious conservative governing strategy within the constraints of public opinion today. Combine this with Bush proposal to privatize many federal services (why should the folks who mow the Pentagon lawn be federal employees??), which is aimed not only at saving money but also at weakening public employee unions, and you can see a strategy for weakening the infrastructure of liberalism further.