Conservatives v. Bush, Part II

So, some Republicans who are also fiscal conservatives have been reacting to the SOTU. This story contains some examples:

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush faced open rebellion on Wednesday from some members of his fiscal conservative base for not laying out concrete plans to reduce government spending and the budget deficit…

Though Bush announced a relatively small number of inexpensive domestic proposals [in the State of the Union address], Heritage analyst Brian Riedl said fiscal conservatives were angry over what Cato estimated to be a nearly 25 percent surge in spending over the last three years — the fastest pace since the Johnson administration of the mid-1960s.

Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a politically powerful conservative group, called Bush’s State of the Union pledge to tackle the deficit “really unpersuasive.”

“Conservatives were left grumbling,” Moore said.

William Niskanen, the chairman of Cato Institute who advised former President Ronald Reagan, called it “most misleading.”

…”He (Bush) did not identify any cuts. He didn’t demonstrate how in any way the actions he proposed would cut the deficit in half over the next period of time,” Niskanen said.

These reactions conjure up two possibilities for me. The first is to take them at face value, and believe that fiscally conservative Republicans are losing their patience with Bush, and therefore may be less enthusiastic about supporting him for reelection (though I have no doubt that they will still support him over any Democrat).

The second (far more cynical) possibility is that their reaction is simply following a script given them by Rove/Cheney. Maybe their marching orders right now are to help publicly build the case (and perhaps some astroturf) for dramatically cutting domestic spending, which is what the brains of the White House have wanted all along.

What do you think – are the fiscally conservative Republicans supporting or undermining the White House right now? I’m honestly undecided.