09/20/2014 03:13 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

When The Republicans Went Insane

Tom Williams via Getty Images

Although Movement Conservative imagery had put him in the White House, George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address signaled that he would back away from the movement’s extremes. He promised to bring the budget into balance. But since popular programs—Medicare, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, food stamps—took up 65 percent of the budget and defense spending took up most of the rest, there was very little room for cuts. Bush suggested hopefully that volunteerism could replace expensive social programs. He told Americans the nation had a “high moral principle” to “make kinder the face of the Nation and gentler the face of the world.” He deplored the rise of partisanship in Congress and called for bipartisan cooperation.

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