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With the rout of the Schwarzenegger initiatives, Democratic victories in New Jersey and Virginia, and Bush’s free-fall in national polls on his job performance, credibility and character, the Republican Party is in imminent peril of losing the country.

Indeed, since 9-11, the party has indulged in willful self-delusion that it has become America’s Party. The Bush triumph in 2004, talking heads brayed, settled the matter: Red State America has triumphed over Blue State America. The future belongs to us.

This was always hyperbole. Where Nixon and Reagan rolled up 49-state landslides in re-election runs, Bush won 31 states, losing every state north of the Potomac and east of Ohio, two of the three great industrial states of the Midwest, Michigan and Illinois, and was skunked on the Pacific rim. Had Kerry hammered him on trade and lost jobs in Ohio, Bush would be a one-term president.

What killed the first Bush presidency and is ruining the second is the abandonment of Reaganism and embrace of the twin heresies of neoconservatism and Big Government Conservatism, as preached by the ideologues at the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal.

Under Bush I, taxes were raised, funding for HUD and Education exploded, and a quota bill was signed under which small businesses, accused of race discrimination, were made to prove their innocence or be punished, in true Soviet fashion.

Under Bush II, social spending has exploded to levels LBJ might envy, foreign aid has been doubled, pork-at-every-meal has become the GOP diet of choice, surpluses have vanished and the deficit is soaring back toward 5 percent of GDP. Bill Clinton is starting to look like Barry Goldwater.

Both Bushes abandoned the economic patriotism that had put America and Americans first – for free-trade globalism. Result: the most massive trade deficits in U.S. history, the gutting of our industrial base, the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs and the largest wealth transfer of all time, with technology, factories and high-tech and high-skilled jobs pouring out of America into Asia.

Working America and the middle class have been sacrificed on the high altar of this Moloch of Republican Free Trade. And how have our Chinese brethren reciprocated our magnanimity?

Both Bushes embraced the “open borders” immigration policy the Wall Street Journal has trumpeted for two decades. Result: We have 10 million to 15 million illegal aliens in our country, among whom gangs like the murderous Mara Salvatrucha are proliferating. Native-born Californian taxpayers are fleeing the Golden State, as Third World tax consumers pour in.

So great is the crisis on the Mexican border even the liberal Democratic governors of New Mexico and Arizona have declared states of emergency. Meanwhile, 35,000 U.S. troops stand guard – on the border of South Korea.

The late editorial-page editor of the Journal, Robert Bartley, once said, “The nation-state is finished.” He and his progeny have surely done their best to bring that about.

As the country we grew up in becomes unrecognizable, we still hear the Journal, that good and faithful servant of the U.S. Business Roundtable, warning us not to oppose open borders. Meanwhile, our very own Dr. Pangloss, Ben Wattenberg, warbles on about our being the “first universal nation” and, in echo of French Prime Minister Dominic de Villepin, burbles, “Isn’t diversity wonderful!”

In foreign policy, Bush I was an internationalist out to build a “New World Order” after the Cold War. However, post-9/11, Bush II converted to a neoconservatism that calls for unilateral American intervention in the Middle East and the Islamic world to bring down dictators and establish democratic rule.

Thus, in March 2003, Bush, in perhaps the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, invaded an Arab nation that had not attacked us, did not want war with us and did not threaten us – to strip it of weapons we now know it did not have.

Result: Shia and Kurds have been liberated from Saddam, but Iran has a new ally in southern Iraq, Osama has a new base camp in the Sunni Triangle, the Arab and Islamic world has been radicalized against the United States, and copy-cat killers of al-Qaida have been targeting our remaining allies in Europe and the Middle East: Spain, Britain, Egypt and Jordan. And, lest we forget, 2,055 Americans are dead and Walter Reed is filling up.

True to the neoconservative creed, Bush has launched a global crusade for democracy that is now bringing ever closer to power Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, and Shia fundamentalists in Baghdad and Basra.

Democratic imperialism is still imperialism. To Islamic peoples, whether the Crusaders come in the name of God or in the name of democracy, they are still Crusaders.

When Ronald Reagan went home to California, his heirs said, “Goodbye to all that,” and embraced Big Government conservatism, then neoconservatism. If they do not find their way home soon, to the principles of Taft, Goldwater and Reagan, they will perish in the wildness into which they have led us all.

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