Looking at the president's record during the last three years, one is hard-pressed to see any affinity between his agenda and that of conservatives who respect the Constitution and believe in limited government. In particular, Bush repeatedly has forsaken the conservative principles of fiscal restraint, free trade, and federalism.
According to the latest figures from congressional budget committees, federal discretionary spending rose by 12.5 percent in the fiscal year that ended on September 30, compared to a 1990s average of 2.4 percent. The increase during the last two fiscal years combined was about 27 percent.
nonmilitary discretionary spending also has risen sharply under Bush, by about 9 percent in the last fiscal year and more than 20 percent since he took office. By comparison, nonmilitary discretionary spending dropped slightly during Bill Clinton's first three years in office.