Conservative protests starting to sound like a declaration of independence

Here is a further sign that the conservatives’ outrage over the Harriet Miers nomination is turning into a revolt against King George himself. TownHall columnist Bruce Bartlett catalogs Bush II’s staggering violations of conservative principle that the conservatives have been swallowing all these years and can swallow no longer. Sounding more like, well, like me than like Ramesh Ponnuru, whose anti-Bush column I discussed here yesterday, Bartlett writes:

… The idea of big government conservatism, a term often used to describe Bush’s philosophy, is a contradiction in terms.

Conservative intellectuals have known this for a long time, but looked the other way for various reasons. Some thought the war on terror trumped every other issue. If a few billion dollars had to be wasted to buy the votes needed to win the war, then so be it, many conservatives have argued. Others say that Bush never ran as a conservative in the first place, so there is no betrayal here, only a failure by conservatives to see what he has been all along.

Of course, this doesn’t say much for the conservative movement. [Emphasis added.] At best, conservatives were naive about Bush. At worst, they sold out much of what they claim to believe in.

The Miers nomination has led to some long-overdue soul-searching among conservative intellectuals. For many, the hope of finally turning around the judiciary was worth putting up with all the big government stuff. Thus, Bush’s pick of a patently unqualified crony for a critical position on the Supreme Court was the final straw.

Had George W. Bush demonstrated more fealty to conservative principles over the last five years, he might have gotten a pass on Miers. But coming on top of all the big government initiatives he has supported, few in the conservative movement are inclined to give him the benefit of a doubt any longer.

This has the ring of divorce or rebellion, whichever metaphor you prefer. And it seems to me that the only way Bush can stop the rupture at this point is to withdraw the Miers nomination, change political course, and dedicate himself to a genuinely conservative agenda. But, for reasons I’ve discussed before, namely that Bush does not believe in conservatism and is hostile to conservatives (as his stunning conduct in the Miers matter clearly shows), I find the prospect of such a turnabout highly unlikely. So it’s looking more and more as if King George will not be able to head off the rebellion that his long chain of usurpations and abuses has provoked.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 18, 2005 01:18 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):