The Problem of Bush "Conservatism"

AJStrata at Strata-Sphere has a piece regarding “Bush Conservatives”:

Bush Conservatives, like Bush himself, are for lower taxes and focused government (someplace between liberals and libertarians is the proper role of government). They are not for destroying the public education system, they are for making it work… They understand that a prescription drug benefit for Medicare/Medicaid will reduce overall costs and provide a respectable end of life for our seniors who came before us. Yes, it costs a lot to care for our elderly. But it doesn’t represent big government. It represents a big heart…

More government is more government. The intent is not the issue, and claiming to have “big hearts” is a tact of the left.

Bush Conservatives respect the immigrant worker in the sense we understand people need to make a life (not just a living). We do not want the broken current system to stay hostage to the “Fence Only” crowd.

There is no “Fence Only Crowd.” There is an Enforcement First Crowd, but they merely want existing laws to be enforced.

The illegal immigrant worker will pay a penalty in back taxes and lost time towards citizenship. That level of penalty is sufficient for the crime of missing paperwork.

Missing paperwork? No, this is a small price for individuals whose first act is to break our laws – first by entering illegally, then by obtaining stolen identification – which is a felony.

The only people who get my support will embrace Bush’s comprehensive vision of workers who are registered, background checked, working in the open economy, and who must avoid criminal activities if they stay here.

Then they can get in line.

Bush conservatives see success in the Gang of 14, who paved the way for some of the largest shifts to the federal bench in a generation. And we would welcome a repeat of the Gang of 14 in the upcoming senate to quelsh the partisan bickering between Reps and Dems. Go for it Gang – with my blessing. If they can keep the results going like they did in the last Congress, true conservatism will be able to flow into our court systems – as opposed to imposing Republican versions of the Liberal activism in the courts now.

So a Bush Conservative is actually a McCain Moderate? Interesting.

Bush Conservatives are not necessarily Republicans – though obviously they are welcomed. Bush Conservatism is the broad-tent conservative movement that can include a McCain, DeWine, Snowe, etc. The only litmus test for Bush Conservatives is there is no litmus tests.

Great. No tests. Every student’s dream.

There are no ‘real’ conservatives or ‘pure’ conservatives. Republicans can have their purity tests. Bush Conservatives will strive for enhancing the conservative vision and making progress towards those ends.

No, there is no pure conservatism, but there are grades and levels.

So how can Republicans (or Democrats) attract Bush Conservatives? Show respect to the President. Don’t blame Bush for your problems or mistakes. Allow processes to unfold without vitriol and panic. Admit the errors made on Miers (she should have been heard, then rejected), Dubai Ports World (not all Muslim Arabs are our enemies, especially ones willing to fund our outer defenses), and immigration (support the guest worker program for all the immigrants now here in this country). Failure to admit the mistakes means failure to correct the mistakes. These minimum changes could woo the Bush Conservatives back into the Republican tent – but there as to be unmistakable shift on these matters.

Huh? It is the Bush legions that control the door to the Republican tent. By calling themselves conservative they believe they have granted themselves impartial judgement status.

Stop blaming the Gang of 14 and support the results they gave us on all those new judges and justices we are blessed to have. Look positively on efforts that are bi-partisan and are rolling back liberalism’s last vestiges: the liberal courts.

Everything is hunky dorry it seems.

Be positive, show respect, and use decorum. And this is not a Chinese menu. We are not looking for ideaological purity. But we are looking for a common vision, a common goal, something we can work together towards. We can debate the details of how to achieve these, but there is no doubt we need to do these things.

Right, there are no ideals in the Bush Conservative World.

This all reminds me a little of what I read by Dinesh D’Souza in Letters to a Young Conservative

Conservatives recognize, of course, that people frequently fall short of these standards. In their personal conduct, conservatives do not claim to be better than anyone else. Newt Gingrich was carrying on an affair at the same time Bill Clinton was romancing Monica Lewinsky. But for conservatives, these lapses do not provide an excuse to get rid of the same standards. Even hypocrisy – professing one thing and doing another – is in the conservative view preferable to a denial of standards because such denial leads to moral chaos or nihilism.

Since modern conservatism is dedicated both to classical liberalism and to virtue, it is open to the charge of contradiction. What happens when there is tension between liberty and virtue? Conservatives are often accused of resolving the tension by opting for liberty in the economic domain, but for virtue in the social domain. If liberals inconsistently hold that government should get out of our bedroom and into our pocketbook, conservatives appear to espouse the opposite philosophy of government: “Out of the pocketbook and into the bedroom.”

If an individual cannot live up to the virtues they espouse, they have no business espousing said virtues.


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