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Has George Bush Exposed the Definitive Bankruptcy of Conservatism?

Conservatives often accuse liberals of being 'Bush haters' in possession of 'the Bush Derangement Syndrome'. And it may be true, but lately many conservatives seem similarly afflicted, but theirs' is a much harder loss to bear, because it may reflect some self-loathing. Bush's mental reasoning, so transparently shallow, so self-serving, has caused even some of his followers to look into the mirror...Two articles I have been reading point this out..
First, Backing Away From Bush' in 'Mother Jones' by Todd Gitlin:

You can appreciate the conservative dilemma. They have to wash their hands of the Bush catastrophe without taking any responsibility for it. They have to try salvaging the notion of a vital, intelligent conservatism that was somehow, behind their backs, hijacked, sabotaged, and betrayed by an errant leader--the Bush who, unaccountably, squandered the luminous promise of Bush.

But Bush was not an accidental leader of the Republicans. He was, and remains, their quintessence--their true representative, their embodiment. His partisans celebrated him precisely as that. In his contempt for reason, his wild foreign policy, his militarism, his love of plutocrats, and his disdain for democratic values and civil rights and liberties, he personifies most of the conservative movement. He was what they wanted.

Paul Krugman contiunes the argument in article in 'the New York Times' 'Same Old Party':

Mr. Bush hasn't strayed from the path at all. On the contrary, he's the very model of a modern movement conservative.

For example, people claim to be shocked that Mr. Bush cut taxes while waging an expensive war. But Ronald Reagan also cut taxes while embarking on a huge military buildup..

People claim to be shocked that the Bush Justice Department, making a mockery of the Constitution, issued a secret opinion authorizing torture despite instructions by Congress and the courts that the practice should stop. But remember Iran-Contra? The Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran, violating a legal embargo, and used the proceeds to support the Nicaraguan contras, defying an explicit Congressional ban on such support..

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration's attempts -- which, for a time, were all too successful -- to intimidate the press. But this administration's media tactics, and to a large extent the people implementing those tactics, come straight out of the Nixon administration. Dick Cheney wanted to search Seymour Hersh's apartment, not last week, but in 1975. Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, was Nixon's media adviser.

Just as Bush's administration has been spookily a combination of the characters and actions of Watergate and Iran-Contragate, we must be on guard once again that Giuliani or a Thompson if elected, (God forbid) will be but a continuation of the modern conservative movement that has become so wanton, without a single redeeming quality under Bush. For that we should be grateful for the Bush debacle. It's silver lining is that it has exposed the bankruptcy of the conservative movement; that they are incapble of governing, or even waging war properly, but are very good at rewarding their friends and wringing what monies they can from the depleted Treasury, for the next generation to pay off.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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