The president will work on shoring up his base tonight when he heads over to the American Conservative Union's 40th anniversary gala, with an eye toward getting the troops out in November. It wasn't too long ago that some conservatives were grumbling about the president, that he just wasn't far enough right for them. But Bush-Cheney '04 has been working on assuaging them. Right-wing favorite Dick Cheney has recently addressed National Rifle Association and National Right to Life meetings, and appeared on Rush Limbaugh's talk show. Last week, Bush addressed a National Day of Prayer broadcast, transmitted on Christian television and radio networks as part of an evangelical concert. (Conservative hero and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North was the 2004 National Day of Prayer Honorary Chairman.)
Truly, this crowd is tough to please. After all, Bush's massive tax cuts aren't good enough for the ACU, which supports eliminating the tax code altogether in 2005. It was ACU president David Keene who said Bill Frist wasn't conservative enough to be Senate Majority Leader. If it were up to the ACU, Pennsylvania right-winger Rep. Pat Toomey would replace Arlen Specter in the U.S. Senate. The group gives Toomey a 96 percent lifetime rating, and Specter 43 percent. Donald Devine, an ACU vice-president, has called the Children's Defense Fund "a radical organization." The ACU lobbied in support of the confirmation of Mississippi Federal District Court Judge Charles Pickering and helped produce millions of dollars of ads attacking a woman's right to choose.