Contact Us    
Where is the Conservatism?

It appears to be non-existent in the Bush Administration.

by James Leroy Wilson
October 6, 2005

Bookmark and Share
Where is the Conservatism?

We do not know how Republican Supreme Court nominees will act once in office. John Roberts, the new Chief Justice, may be the greatest thing to ever happen to the Constitutional republic. Or the worst. The same could be said for President Bush's new nominee for associate Justice, Harriet Miers. As the appointments of Earl Warren and William Brennan were Eisenhower's biggest mistakes in a relatively successful Presidency, so Roberts and Miers may be Bush's lone successes in a Presidency that has otherwise brought considerable harm to America and the world. Or, they may just add to the disaster. The problem isn't that we don't know for sure, it is that we can't even guess.

There are already questions about Miers's qualifications and philosophy - not just from Democrats but from conservative Republicans. Miers certainly has to prove herself, otherwise her appointment will prove to be another blunder by the Bush Administration. After the Cindy Sheehan debacle and the Katrina aftermath, you would almost think that Bush is deliberately throwing the 2006 Congressional and 2008 Presidential elections to the Democrats.

The Supreme Court and the federal judiciary in general, with its attending social issues such as abortion and prayer in schools, remains the one area where conservatives have the advantage over liberals. Conservatives are less likely to reinterpret the Constitution to fit their own ends. Liberals behave as though they barely know what's even in the Constitution; all they know is that "all men are created equal," "wall of separation between church and state" and "right to privacy" are in there somewhere - or at least should be in there.

Worse for Democrats, I don't think the base really cares all that much about these things. Democratic voters are more likely to vote on economic issues, whereas Republican voters are more likely to vote on moral issues, especially abortion.

That's why the Miers appointment may work in their favor. Conservatives generally kept quiet about their doubts whether Roberts would be a genuine conservative. But Roberts, a Washington establishment figure, had an impressive resume. His appointment was politically astute, so conservatives decided, ,"wait 'til the next one." But the next one turns out to be a less than well-qualified Bush crony with no record at all.

Have conservatives finally "had it" with Bush? Let's look at Bush's record:

  • the largest rate of government growth since the Johnson administration
  • failure to curb pork barrel spending projects
  • flawed, fiscally irresponsible Medicare drug benefit bill
  • deficits in the $350-500 billion range, though the administration inherited budget surpluses
  • troubling infringements on civil liberties from the PATRIOT Act
  • signing the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill that violates freedom of speech
  • imposing lumber and steel tariffs
  • creation of new federal bureaucracies
  • lax enforcement of immigration laws
  • incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, and an absurdly expensive reconstruction project

    a war in Iraq based on false pretenses, with a gigantic price tag

This is not your Daddy's conservatism. Heck, Bill Clinton's liberalism was more conservative than this. But through it all, Bush's tax cuts and his judicial nominees to the federal bench preserved support from conservatives. But now, with 55 Republican votes in the Senate and two chances to nominate reliable conservatives to the Supreme Court, Bush hasn't even nominated one.

It is right to ask - it was right to ask a long time ago - whether Bush's "conservatism" is actually that at all. Many pro-civil rights, pro-safety net liberals who came of age in the 1940's-60's feel lost in the world of social Marxism and special interest politicking that characterizes modern liberalism. I wonder if a similar feeling is being awakened among conservatives. "When I said I'm a conservative, I didn't mean this."

The ramifications could be significant. It's not a question of starting a new party, or a revolution within the Republican Party to reclaim its Goldwaterism. It might just mean that conservatives will stay home in 2006 and 2008. The Republicans control all the branches of government, but government grows ever bigger and more powerful. And now, Bush has apparently abandoned what was left of the conservative agenda with his Supreme Court appointments. What reason is there for conservatives to vote Republican, or to even vote at all?

Comments (1)

Post a Comment

Brooks Gardner from Mebane, NC writes:
October 6, 2005
Mr. Wilson is right on target concerning the Bush Administration. I hope that more can see through Mr. Bush's fog. He has given conservatism a bad name and his administration has failed on so many fronts. We need to remember that Republicans are not necessarily conservative and Democrats are not necessarily liberal. Mr. Clinton's administrations pointed to the importance of a good mix of Liberal/Conservatives. Mr. Bush and his administration need to read the Consitution. As the headline of a Leonard Pitts editorial says, By Ignoring the Obvious, we become loyal to a fault. Something to keep in mind. The Germans ignored the obvious about Hitler.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Ron Paul Is a Nut (and So Am I)
Published September 10, 2008

Forget about red states and blue states. Wilson's unique take on political topics is refreshingly not politics as usual.

» Buy Now
» More Information
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by James Leroy Wilson
47 for 46 for 45
My favorite movies since when I was born
by James Leroy Wilson, 3/15/16
Hired Gun Quarterbacks
They rarely win the Super Bowl.
by James Leroy Wilson, 2/9/16
Fixing Football's Overtime
Get rid of the coin toss!
by James Leroy Wilson, 1/19/16
Solving the NBA's Conference Imbalance
Get rid of them!
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/26/15
The Problem of School
We develop differently, but arbitrary age rules punish us.
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/19/15
Deflating and defaming Tom Brady
Punishing without evidence
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/12/15
Should Floyd Mayweather be allowed to fight?
The Nevada Athletic Commission is wrong, but not for the reason you think.
by James Leroy Wilson, 4/28/15
» Complete List (565)

RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson

Recently Published
View Article A Final Word
It’s been a good ride
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/20/21
The Last Post
The Partial Observer is no more
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/15/21
The Challenges and Chances of Change
Announcing a coming change
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/8/21
On Each Continent We Worship
A new hymn for World Communion Sunday
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/1/21
Tending the Family Tree
A grandparent's charge
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/24/21
The Cross is Our Ground Zero
Why the cross is the crux of our faith
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/17/21
A Score Recalled
Remembering September 11th twenty years later
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/10/21

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2021 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top