John Podhoretz says it’s wrong for conservatives to argue that George Bush isn’t one of their own:
That is simply preposterous, and it’s become a lazy charge on the part of right-wingers who have problems with individual parts of his agenda.
Yes, he signed No Child Left Behind. Yes, he signed campaign-finance reform. Yes, he supports an immigration-reform proposal that some say features amnesty. But let’s not miss the major fact. Anyone who cuts taxes by nearly $2 trillion is a CONSERVATIVE. Anyone who is willing to pursue an aggressive foreign policy without the support of the liberal elite is a CONSERVATIVE. And anyone who has appointed as many conservative jurists as Bush is a CONSERVATIVE.
So just to review, the “big tent” of conservatism includes federalizing education despite a total lack of constitutional authority, violating the First Amendment’s core protection of political speech, refusing to veto any spending bill, no matter how large and wasteful, and consequently running up massive deficits–just for starters.
Of course, what I suspsect Podhoretz means is that being a conservative means acquiring political powerâ€”first, last, and alwaysâ€”and what one actually does with that power is secondary.