Skip to comments.Conservatives need not fret about Bush
Posted on 04/25/2002 6:09:04 AM PDT by truthandlife
Reports of tensions between George W. Bush and conservatives are appearing in media that are often uncomprehending of, unsympathetic to, and fond of finding conflicts among conservatives.
Some conservatives are caught in a time warp. Bush is, second only to Ronald Reagan and not second by much, the most conservative president in living memory. And Bush is, as successful leaders tend to be, lucky.
Lucky? Three Bush decisions, all contradicting long-standing Bush positions, dismayed conservatives who care deeply about free speech (he signed campaign finance reform legislation), free trade (he imposed steel tariffs that will be ineffectual without being innocuous) and Israel's freedom (he began speaking the way the State Department thinks). Then Al Gore gave a speech.
Suddenly, conservatives remembered.
They remembered what Bush never forgets: that the country is tied, politically. That in 2000 half the country favored Gore. That three consecutive elections have produced merely plurality presidents, that at the end of the 19th century five consecutive elections did that, and that the 2004 election might.
In 2000, Bush sealed the Republican Party's acknowledgment that the government is, because a vast majority insists on it, involved in assuaging the two great fears of life -- illness and old age.
The conservatism that defined itself in reaction against the New Deal -- minimal government conservatism -- is dead. However, Bush has positioned his party as pro-choice where it will matter most to most Americans in coming years -- regarding education (freedom to choose among public and private schools), Social Security (freedom to invest a portion of Social Security taxes in private retirement plans) and medicine (government assistance that fosters freedom to shop for care).
But some conservatives, addicted to disgruntlement, still have the oppositional mentality that characterized conservatism between the coming of Franklin Roosevelt and the departure of Jimmy Carter. In that era, conservatives felt doomed to perpetual disappointment as marginal critics of an uncongenial political culture.
Many older conservatives retain this oppositional mentality because they are older: Habits, especially intellectual ones, die hard. Many younger conservatives have an oppositional mentality for two reasons. It is fun -- it feels heroic -- being an embattled church-militant in an unconverted world. And the conspicuous culture -- the media and campuses -- are hostile.
However, conservatives should stop feeling like victims. The campuses have made themselves risible. And talk radio, the Fox News Channel and Washington's conservative think tanks have made conservatism a more than merely equal participant in political arguments.
Of the three Bush decisions that conservatives rightly abhorred, two -- imposing tariffs and refusing to veto the campaign finance legislation (he has vetoed nothing in 15 months) -- are not likely to establish patterns. Campaign finance reform is finished for now, and Bush cannot have enjoyed the reaction, here or abroad, to his protectionism.
The most important of his three mistakes -- his "evenhandedness" regarding Israel and the terrorist Yasser Arafat -- probably is self-correcting: He knows which delusional advisers mistakenly assured him that if he issued commands to all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he would be obeyed. And regarding his first 15 months:
Judging by his nominees so far, Bush will splendidly staff the federal judiciary (half of it, if he serves two terms), but not until Republicans control the Senate. They will be more apt to do that if he campaigns on the issue of judicial activism. His tax cuts will do more than Republican congressional majorities would do to limit government activism. His education bill deeply disappointed only those conservatives who mistakenly want education reform driven by Washington. And concerning the most momentous policy problem, conservatives cannot fault either the substance of Bush's decisions on biomedical matters (cloning, stem cells) or the seriousness with which he has arrived at that substance.
Which is why conservatives in the capital should be more like conservatives across the country: on balance, quite pleased.
I think he means more liberal and complacent.
Bush shares with Reagan a valuable political gift: he is firm but he is soft-spoken. He is not loud-mouthed and abrasive like some conservative politicians, who could not possibly win national election simply because of the way they present themselves.
George Will to everybody...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain....just step in line and do as your told...after all...it's for your own good.
p.s....George..the answer is no.
I guess Mr. Will has forgotten Richard Nixon.
Inside the Beltway, maybe.
Other than his hard stance on Communism, Richard Nixon was very liberal. He was pro-choice, instituted government wage and price freezes, and created the EPA.
The folks who are bitching and moaning about how Bush has 'let them down' because he hasn't been conservative enough would do well to remember Will's statement above. They should use some of that energy to get out and work for Republican candidates to the Senate. We HAVE to get the majority back and get hold of the Committees again. Until then, Bush will be stymied at every turn by the likes of Little Tommy Daschle and 'Senator Depends' Leahy!
U.S. to help U.N. redefine 'families'
MGeorge Archibald,THE WASHINGTON TIMES
http://asp.washtimes.com/printarticle.asp?action=print&ArticleID=20020422-67 480Published 4/22/2002
The Bush administration has joined European delegates to an upcoming U.N. summit on children in moving to recognize families "in various forms," including unmarried cohabiting couples and homosexual partners.
George Will must be spending more time at FR than he lets on. He summarizes the "line-in-the-sand" crowd here pretty well.
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