Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush - Champion of Freedom...

... yeah right...
Did anyone ever think any differently?? I think that this little snapshot perfectly summarizes the contradictions and hypocrisy that embodies G.W.B. And, accordingly, I would have to guess that the buyer's remorse of many "small government conservatives" must be achieving new highs with every passing day. I certainly hope so. How did this guy fool so many on the right into thinking that he was any different from his father? Ok, so he lived and governed in Texas for a while. Big freakin deal. Apparently all that he learned in Big-T was to apply his old man's North Eastern-establishment-cronyism to more low level incompetents and guys (and gals) that wear cowboy boots. Is that a selling point? I suppose that he does tend to throw around the J.C. word a bit more than Sr., obviously endearing himself to more of the religious segments on the right - but is that wholly sufficient to give the man the reins of power? Power which he so often directs toward ends directly contrary to the beliefs of those who put him in office?? Well, hopefully the G.W. years will prove to be a valuable lesson to the Republicans out there who still believe in small government - that is, if such beasts still exist... Do your homework and, for god's sake, when the politicos that claim to be one of you come from the family of Bush - run, man, run! Admit it, the man had no more of a proven pedigree than Harriet Miers; and, like Ms. Depth herself, he is both an intellectual and philosophical lightweight who was, form the beginning, destined to disappoint.
Mr. Bruce Bartlett, a bedrock conservative, to be sure, and author of the new book entitled, "The Imposter - How Bush Bankrupted America," compares Mr. Bush to Richard Nixon - "an impostor, a pretend conservative..." This sounds about right to me. Here is some more from Bartlett:
I write as a Reaganite, by which I mean someone who believes in the historical conservative philosophy of small government, federalism, free trade, and the Constitution as originally understood by the Founding Fathers. On that basis, Bush clearly is not a Reaganite or "small c" conservative. Philosophically, he has more in common with liberals, who see no limits to state power as long as it is used to advance what they think is right. In the same way, Bush has used government to pursue a "conservative" agenda as he sees it. But that is something that runs totally contrary to the restraints and limits to power inherent in the very nature of traditional conservatism. It is inconceivable to traditional conservatives that there could ever be such a thing as "big government conservatism," a term often used to describe Bush's philosophy.

Traditional conservatives view the federal government as untrustworthy and undepend-able. They use it only for those necessary functions such as national defense that by their nature cannot be provided at the state and local level or privately. The idea that government could ever be used actively to promote their goals in some positive sense is a contradiction in terms to them. George W. Bush, by contrast, often looks first to government to solve societal problems without even considering other options. Said Bush in 2003, "We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move." A more succinct description of liberalism would be hard to find.
Precisely. Of course Bush is no "small 'c' conservative." But to avoid this mistake in the future, we must assess exactly what he is. Barlett calls him a "Big government conservative??" But, contradictions in terms don't offer much in the way of education. To me, Bush brings to mind Ayn Rand's analysis of a "statist" - regardless of the agenda or desired end, any person or group that seeks political power to forcibly implement certain goals should be placed into a single category - the category of "statist." Aptly, Rand did not see any difference between socialists and "mystics" (e.g. moralists, religious fundamentalists) because both camps ultimately want to tell you how to live, using the power of government to enforce those not-so-subtle "suggestions." Indeed, I think it is reasonable to characterize Bush as the latter. This is the unfortunate trait that makes so many on left (and, many on right) fear Mr. Bush and will, I fear, all but guaranty '08 and '12 to the Dems. Thanks for that.
2-22-06: Addendum from Marginal Revolution:
Donald Coffin and Marty O'Brien point out that the article in the New York Sun linked above is misleading, there is a lawsuit contending that SMU is using nefarious shenanigans to get some land for the library but, since SMU is a private entity, eminent domain is not involved. Virginia Postrel has a better write-up on the situation.