George W. Bush Angers Conservatives Source: NewsMax Howard Dean isn't the only presidential candidate suffering a self-inflicted meltdown. There's a certain Republican with the same problem, and we don't mean Wesley Clark the former Reaganite. President Bush has so angered his conservative base by spending more than any Democrat in history and pandering to illegal aliens that Republican congressmen, stunned by constituents' complaints, met privately with Karl Rove to unload, the Washington Times revealed Friday. "I would say 97 out of 100 of our members who asked questions laid into him pretty good about spending and the lack of discipline on the administration's part," said Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla. The White House, however, does not seem to be taking the problem seriously. Presidential spokesman Trent Duffy said Bush wanted "to broaden the party." Good luck with that sorry strategy. Those who try to be all things to all people end up standing for nothing and having nothing. Proof of this tactic's failure: The more money Bush squanders, the Democrats attack him. Wall Street Journal columnist John Harwood notes that Bush is getting socked from the right and the left and has only himself to blame. Harwood traces the recent plunge in Bush's popularity to four events: The uproar caused by former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill undermined Bush's biggest asset: his image as "a strong leader, with capable advisers, who talks straight." The State of the Union speech deepened misgivings on Capitol Hill. Bush blamed the GOP-controlled Congress for his own massive spending and deficits, and angered Democrats when he "improbably suggested that he had been vindicated" on what he now calls "weapons-of-mass-destruction-related program activities." After insisting his humongous expansion of Medicare would cost $400 billion over a decade, he jacked up the estimate to $540 billion. Democrats, of course, say the program should be even more gargantuan, and conservatives don't want it at all. The latest insult: a record deficit of $521 billion this year in a $2.4 trillion budget that pleases no one. This from a man who said "we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits." Most damning of all is a statistic the Journal published recently. Bush increased domestic discretionary spending by a record 8.2 percent, compared to 2.5 percent for Bill Clinton, 2 percent for Jimmy Carter and 4.3 percent for Lyndon Johnson. Harwood notes that "just as with the nose-diving candidacy of Howard Dean, the problem is largely self-inflicted."