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May 08, 2006


[deleted by Brendan for ripping off a Q and O post without attribution]

Y'know, earlier in the day, I made some points very similar to those "Jonny" just made. In fact, I made exactly the same points. This choad just copied and pasted my post without attribution. Jag-off.

In any event, I think Greenwald's post is a remarkable contradiction of his own earlier points, and a thoughtless caricature of the points made by Goldberg, et al.

A local preacher once delivered an infamous sermon titled, "Jesus Was Liberal, But Not *A* Liberal."

Along the same lines, but the other way 'round, George W. Bush is a conservative, but he's not conservative.

(FYI, the sermon was in response to demonstrators who held signs reading "Jesus Was A Liberal" while protesting the previous week's sermon, entitled "Scare-a-Liberal Sunday.")

Jon, those points may be true about Greenwald - I don't know. But I wasn't endorsing his entire post nor his consistency over time. What about the points I made? Not sure what criticism of Greenwald has to do with my post.

Here is a link to Jon's post on Greenwald for those who are interested. I'm deleting the comment that rips him off without attribution.

Someone should ask the ones responding to those polls what the definition of "conservative" is. Hell, I'd like to know myself, cuz the image I'm getting boils down to rampant statism & corruption wrapped up in small-minded Jesus-and-the-flag symbolism.

If they see it the same way then apparently I'm not giving folks enough credit if they're actually smart enough to reject it.

Brendan, I don't think there's an objective, central definition of "conservative" or "liberal", so it's a bit difficult to create a taxonomy of Bush policy here. Conservatism and liberalism are tendencies, rather than clear, consistent philosophies. One might argue that NCLB is a "conservative" policy, but conservatives in 1994 would have blasted it as the perfect illustration of Big Government liberalism.

Both sides will argue indefinitely and never the twain shall meet, probably because the words they use mean exactly what they want them to mean, rather than distinguishable policy directions.

In any event, Bush's "compassionate conservatism" has always been criticized within the Republican Party, as have the Drug bill, NCLB and a host of other policies. Republicans have certainly claimed Bush as one of their own -- after all, he is -- and conservatives have always sided with Bush, because the alternative was even less conservative than him, but there has always been broad dissatisfaction with him, too.

Many like to think that conservatives wholeheartedly touted Bush previously and have done a complete about-face now. But that's not really the case. They defended him previously as the lesser of the evils, but they've always had reservations. At the time, they were criticized for being unwilling to criticize Bush. Now, critics have switched course and are focusing on the criticism of Bush, rather than the defenses. The criticism has always been there, but other battles were being fought.

In any event, if conservatism is marked by skepticism of government and a belief in federal restraint -- as Greenwald has described it -- then it seems like anger at Bush's policies would counsel exactly that political philosophy. The failures the Right criticizes in Bush are precisely the failure to be "conservative" in that sense.

Generally speaking, when Bush is criticized for being insufficiently conservative, it's the restraint/spending policies that are being criticized. Would he be more popular if he'd been more restrained? I happen to think so. Maybe I'm wrong, but that would seem to cover an awful lot of the objections to him.

What do you think?

I would argue that Bush is so disliked because he's not consistantly liberal or conservative.

Sure socially he's a total right-winger on issues like abstinence only, the Gay Marriage Amendment, stem cell research, and "Faith Based Initiatives", but he's also got these ideas that are conservo-liberal hybrids like wanting to "fix" Social Security by privatizing it which is a typically conservative plan, but doing it his way would require massive debt which is not fiscally conservative.

Medicare Part D: It's a liberal health care plan implemented like a pro-business conservative. It has the benefit of chafing people on both sides of the isle.

NCLB: A potentially very expensive education plan that's not fully funded. Again it rubs both sides the wrong way.

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