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A Bush Conservative

Let’s get this out of the way first: I like Sen. Bill Raggio. A lot. The problem I have with him today is purely political and philosophical, not personal.

Sen. Raggio “guaranteed” on the campaign trail last year that he was not going to vote to raise taxes this legislative session. Then he broke his word by voting for the $232 million room tax hike in February – and is expected to do so again before the 2009 legislative session is over.

And yet, in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story on Monday Sen. Raggio was quoted as saying the following:

“I consider myself a Reagan conservative. I also believe that government should be lean, not mean, and that you need to have concern and compassion for people who can’t provide for themselves and their families.”

You mean like the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at UNLV?

In any event, what Sen. Raggio is saying here is that those of us who object to tax hikes rather than spending cuts to non-essential government programs and services to balance Nevada’s budget are “mean” and don’t give a damn about “people who can’t provide for themselves.” Which is the same kind of “compassionate conservative” crap we got from President George W. Bush.

Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” You’ll never hear Sen. Raggio say any such thing. That’s because Sen. Raggio, despite his claim to the contrary, is no Reagan conservative. He’s a Bush big-government conservative. And I think we all know how THAT turned out.

But I still like the guy.