Bush: a classic liberal
redhurt and I largely agree that, however you judge the actions of George W. Bush in the end, he's not a traditional conservative. We've even tossed around the idea that he's the second coming of LBJ--a hawkish, affable, big government Texan. Now, I've got Jonah Goldberg backing me up on this, even mentioning one of LBJ's programs in a column:
"President Bush's compassionate conservatism was never intended to be radical, it was meant to be the Republican version of feel-your-pain Clintonism. If Bush's domestic spending were a Broadway musical, reviewers would call it "Lavish!" and "Spectacular!" His big first-term domestic initiatives — aside from tax cuts — were an education bill cosponsored by Ted Kennedy, campaign finance "reform" favored by the sensible-shoes types and the biggest expansion in entitlements (prescription drug benefits) since the Great Society."
What's worst about GWB is that, for progressives, he's the worst of conservatism and liberalism put together. (I've said parts of this before in posts where I've had to clarify both what I believe and what I think liberalism should be: I'm not usually for "greater federal involvement" in things, I don't believe we should solve problems by "throwing money at them," I think affirmative action is ridiculous, I think a president's judicial nominees should, most of the time, be accepted and ratified, etc.) But GWB wields the twin powers of big government and big business recklessly: he starts wars, he creates new departments, he cuts taxes. It doesn't add up, and I'd like to hear if any of the conservatives in the room are disappointed. I was crushed last year when Kerry lost, after I voted for him before I voted against him; not because I believed in the shifty weasel, but because Bush damages everything he touches.