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A Test Question

posted by awelborn

Agree or Disagree, and explain your answer (in complete sentences, please):

President George W. Bush is a political conservative

This guy would disagree



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Bill

posted January 14, 2004 at 10:19 am


Other than signing the PBA ban, I don’t understand what Bush did to cause anyone to confuse him for a conservative.



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al

posted January 14, 2004 at 10:31 am


Personally, he seems fairly conservative, in as much as he trusts to “what’s been handed down” rather that identifying with any “radical” analyses that spring from either ideology or rigorous analysis.
Nevertheless, as that “what’s been handed down” now includes socialism (the “new deal”), open borders (courtesy of the neocons), and a presumptive right of regime change vis a vis other nations, it puts him at odds with “conservatism” understood in a Chestertonian sense, more as “traditionalism” (what Aristotle called “endoxa” or the “opinions of the wise”). Again the neocons are not really conservatives, properly understood, just liberals afraid of the implications of their core beliefs. To the degree which GWB is influenced by them, to that degree he is not a “conservative.”



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Christopher Rake

posted January 14, 2004 at 10:51 am


As noted by Bill, there’s very little available evidence that Bush is a political conservative (unless he is, in his heart, but for some reason unwilling to translate it into action). Other than partial-birth abortion, he’s done almost nothing that would track with the conservative agenda. That includes efforts to end race discrimination (affirmative action), limit government spending, secure the exercise of Second Amendment (gun possession) rights, or enforce immigration law.
I can’t say that national security is a conservative value per se, just that at the moment it’s worked out that way. What Bush is doing in the war against terrorism is something I’m sure the Scoop Jacksons would have done as well.
However, if not for the war, I’d be looking for another candidate.



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Ono

posted January 14, 2004 at 11:40 am


Bush is developing battlefield tactical mini-nukes
Bush is trying to kill Medicare, $400 million prescription drug benefit notwithstanding, the poison pill is in place
Bush is trying to undermine social security by putting in private accounts
Bush does not believe that there is such a thing as Global Warming in the face of ovewhelming evidence to the contrary
The failed Energy bill, according to McCain is one of the largest turkeys in history, chuck full of goodies for the Energy interests
$1.3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%
Definitely believes in supply side economics, which produced 1,000 jobs in December! That’s 200 jobs per state folks. Stock market’s up, wages down, that’s supply side economic recovery.
Opposed to raising minimum wage
Wants to go to war with Iran, Syria, North Korea, and anyone else who looks at us the wrong way
Abandoned the Kyoto protocol discussion
Abandoned the International Criminal Court discussions
Free trader with no labor or environmental standards to prevent a rush to the bottom
Note: I could go on. I voted for this guy, first and last time, I’ll ever vote for a Republican president.



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Bill

posted January 14, 2004 at 12:01 pm


I did appreciate my tax rebate, (even though I’m nowhere near the wealthiest 1%). Bush did nominate a few good judges (whom he did not twist arms to get them confirmed). And there was the afroementioned PBA ban. But that’s about it. As for the warmongering, how is that “conservative”? The ICC? No US president would have the US subject to that. In true Clinton fashion, Bush is stealing the issues of the oppopsition. Unfortunately, those issues are liberal ones.



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Christopher

posted January 14, 2004 at 12:37 pm


From my own catholic conservative perspective, There is no doubt that George W. Bush is a political conservative. But where does this question come from anyway. Bush described himself as a Compassionate Conservative which is what he really is. People should not be now put-off because he is acting as a compassionate conservative instead of a hard-line traditional conservative. His compassion is driven by his Christian Worldview which is blatant. I agree with his immigration proposal because it IS compassionate conservatism. It compassionately makes an allowance for those otherwise law-abiding, hard-working immigrants who were unfortunate enough to be born across a man-made border, while conservatively refusing to ignore that they actually exist. His policies with regard to a whole host of issues follows this same pattern of balancing Compassion and Conservatism and he is to be applauded for it. I only fear that he has “front-loaded” the bulk of his “compassionate” agenda for his first term only to be staunchly “Conservative” in his second term.



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Peggy

posted January 14, 2004 at 12:39 pm


I think he is morally/socially conservative as a person, but his political record as president is not quite conservative in the political sense. He has pursued a number of conseravtive things, but some quite displeasing things as well. These latter things demonstrate a lack of respect for the constitution (ie, in terms of federal/state split of responsibility, free speech) or inadequate commitment to conservative principles (ie, limited government):
1. He proposed immigration “reforms” which will reward criminals. His desire for alliance w/Mexico is quite alarming.
2. He signed “Campaign Finance Reform” which has prohibited political speech by the people 60 days before a federal election. Rush is right to call it “Incumbent Protection Act.”
3. He promoted and signed a new Medicare entitlement for drugs.
4. He lobbied for and obtained huge federal spending for education in “No Child Left Behind.”
5. He has not been passionate enough about his conservative judicial candidates.
6. While his tax cuts are great, he has demonstrated no commitment to domestic spending cuts or the general concept of limited federal government.
7. His proposal to gear federal funding toward marriage is laudible, but is no different from using government to fund illegitimate offspring–in that it is using government to pursue a particular social agenda, rather than setting right circumstances and leaving that to the people to choose, making it attractive to choose the right thing.
8. I am not generally an opponent of the Patriot Act, but I am concerned about some measures toward security that affect all our rights, regardless of whether some actionable warrant has been issued or there is probable cause to permit such investigation of an individual(ie, all air tavelers will be investigated and their security risk will be determined).
#1s 1 & 2 are the most egregious and should cause us all the most concern, regardless of our political persuasion. Nonetheless, there is no one else as conservative as Bush in the field of candidates, and I would not trust one of those Dem knuckleheads with our national security. [Ono is right that abandoning Kyoto & ICC are very important moves. Just curious: Why would Ono ever vote Dem w/his/her views as expressed above?–or Maybe he/she votes libertarian or elsewhere on the right.]



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Peggy

posted January 14, 2004 at 12:42 pm


al,
Neocons do NOT want open borders. Please read the Corner at NRO or its regular online and print articles. They are all over this immigration issue like white on rice. They’re quite unhappy. The WSJ is the conservative press that likes this for business reasons. Lou Dobbs, the only watchable guy on CNN whales on this issue nightly. He is great on illegal immigration. Won’t ever hear “undocumented” from his lips.



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al

posted January 14, 2004 at 12:55 pm


Peggy,
I beg to differ. That’s why they went after Buchanan, in part, in 1992, as Paul Gottfried has demonstrated on many occasions. . . .



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Christopher Rake

posted January 14, 2004 at 1:39 pm


It’s hard to get a fix on “the” “neocon” position on immigration, partly because it can be surprisingly difficult to define what a neocon is. Having spent much time at NRO, Frontpagemag.com, etc., it seems clear–bold statement coming–that opinions vary.
But there is no doubt that broadly speaking, many conservatives, including some neocons, are deeply disappointed at Bush’s proposal and some, as Amy’s linked story showed, are livid. Just take a look at the National Review this week.
I think Bush is absolutely beatable. This election could be the Battle of the Bases. I can see a scenario where Dean wins the nomination with an extremely energized base that accepts some tacks to the center as the price of winning (which would then be dispensed with). Meanwhile, depressed and demoralized Bush conservatives stay home or just drift off somewhere. In a 50-50 country, this becomes decisive.
I’d forgotten about the free-speech issue, Peggy; at this point I’m just blocking out one disappointment after another so as to keep my seasonal affective disorder under control! OTOH, I also haven’t thought awhile about the kudos he deserves for his position on the ICC and Kyoto.
“May you live in interesting times…”



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Ono

posted January 14, 2004 at 1:47 pm


Kyoto and the Internation Criminal Court were unacceptable in their present form, even Democrats knew that. Kyoto sat around for 6 years, even during Clinton’s term. The point is that a liberal would feel that this where US presidential leadership is needed to fix a treaty that is obviously needed. Bush unilaterlally withdrew sticking it in the face of all our allies.
The ICC could also have been worked out, it just needed more diplomacy and time.
Also Bush unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty, sticking to Russia. Sich actions reflect a politically conservative view of the world.
You would be hard pressed to find a better national security expert than John Kerry or General Clark. Not even Jesse Helms, with whom Kerry worked on issues, Robert Novak, or anyone would call Kerry a “knuckle-head.”



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Bill

posted January 14, 2004 at 2:09 pm


It’s 13 degrees today in NYC. I sure could have used a bit of that global warming at lunchtime.



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Peggy

posted January 14, 2004 at 3:26 pm


This is an interesting discussion. We just had it at lunch and, from the viewpoint of economists (some of whom are lefties and some who are libertarian), W is not quite conservative for a variety of reasons.
–Al & Christopher R-I guess it is right that the conservative movement is split on the issue of immigration and rewarding illegals. That is different from free trade of goods or perhaps increasing legal immigration levels, which conservatives generally favor. SOme one else brought up the unwillingness to take on affirmative action also…oh, the disappointments! CR, the free speech issue is not just about $ caps; it is about explicit prohibitions on the people’s right to speak. What a travesty for freedom!
–Ono-about Kerry or Clark. If they’re serious about national security, they need to start acting and speaking seriously, not just fighting W for the heck of it. Both of these men tried to make points by cursing in the press. Clark is considered a prima donna, from what I have read. Why has he changed his views from favoring W’s approach? I also believe he is the Clintons’ boy. Kerry has no appeal for me on domestic or national security matters. [I see Ono is disappointed from a different perspective than I might be. I like the things (s)he doesn’t.]



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al

posted January 14, 2004 at 3:30 pm


Christopher,
Not for Gottfried, check it out.



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Christopher Rake

posted January 14, 2004 at 3:56 pm


CR, the free speech issue is not just about $ caps; it is about explicit prohibitions on the people’s right to speak. What a travesty for freedom!
I agree.



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c matt

posted January 14, 2004 at 4:11 pm


Sounds like Bush is the Republican version of Clinton – Too conservative for liberals, too liberal for conservatives. And they may be right.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted January 14, 2004 at 9:54 pm


Bush is not as conservative as I would like, but compared to any of his Democrat challengers he is Reagan in comparison. That is why I, and the vast majority of conservatives, will vote for Bush.



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Ono

posted January 14, 2004 at 11:01 pm


Clark was a General in in the US Army, its hard to get more serious than that. That said, Clark is a Republican in Democratic clothes, the man was a Republican lobbyist and many of us Democrats are wary of him.
John Kerry in 1996 wrote a book on terrorism called The New War. This was a culmination of study, research and investigations from being on the Senate subcommittee on Terrorism and narcotics. He was the one person who predicted the possibility of a “mega-terrorist event” on US soil. He also outlined steps to go about a war on terror. . . this was in 1996! It is hard to get more serious than that.
Undocumented immigrants maybe here illegally but they are not criminals.
Bush is a political animal, he does what he has to to win elections. If this was Clinton, he’d be called unprincipled by conservatives. I think Bush is less concerned about legislation and more concerned about putting his stamp on the judiciary. Like many of things, namely, Iraq, the Space program, Bush is trying to complete his dad’s second term. In the case of the judiciary, he has to nullify Justice Souter.



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Andrea Harris

posted January 15, 2004 at 5:33 am


“Bush does not believe that there is such a thing as Global Warming in the face of ovewhelming evidence to the contrary”
Sign me up as someone else who doesn’t believe in “Global Warming” — that is, that a rise of a couple of degrees in world temperature will cause the earth to become Waterworld. The climate was a lot warmer during the Middle Ages than it is now. The so-called “science” behind the Global Warming hysteria is bad science, based on such things as about 100 years of climate records. The Kyoto treaty is nothing but a series of regulations that will do nothing to control real polluters such as India and China, but will tie down the economies of the only countries that have the ability to actually do something to clean up pollution: the US and other advanced industrial nations. Clinton refused to ratify it, the Senate overwhelmingly refused to pass it; somehow Bush is crazy or evil for not falling for the global warming scam?
The Global Warming hysterics have done quite a bit of damage to the cause of environmentalism.



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Stacey

posted January 15, 2004 at 8:50 am


“Clark was a General in in the US Army, its hard to get more serious than that.”
Interesting comment, but ignorant. Not that some generals in the US Army aren’t serious, but since I actually know a number of them, I recognize that they are just as human as anybody else. It would be great if we could assume that being a general automatically means that you are tremendously qualified, but the Army has its politics, too.



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Franklin Jennings

posted January 15, 2004 at 8:57 am


As a counterexample to Ono claims on Clark, I offer you George B. McClellan.



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Jeff Glen

posted January 15, 2004 at 10:24 am


Disagree. He’s a Neoconservative, sadly. All true conservatives loathe Bush the Younger (who’s just the latest in a long line of Skull/Bones, Illuminist, Masonic spawn).
Conservative;
Neocon.
Conservative;
Neocon.
Catholic;
Neocatholic.
Oops. Different discussion.



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Franklin Jennings

posted January 15, 2004 at 2:59 pm


No fair, Jeff! Now who’s going to clean my monitor and keyboard?



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Ono

posted January 15, 2004 at 4:04 pm


Interesting comment, but ignorant. Not that some generals in the US Army aren’t serious, but since I actually know a number of them, I recognize that they are just as human as anybody else. It would be great if we could assume that being a general automatically means that you are tremendously qualified, but the Army has its politics, too.
Politics can get you far, but NATO commander . . . ignorant or not, it does take some talent to work with that politics to go that far. No one raises questions about Clark’s leadership or military competence, the questions are about his personal integrity. BTW, I am far from a Clark supporter, so I’m not sure why I’m defending him. He freaks me out, the man does not blink, also he’s a Republican plant. He complained IN A DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, that Bush is neither conservative nor compassionate!
Again, the work on the Kyoto treaty needs leadership not unliteral withdrawal.



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