From Pine View Farm

Conservative Intellectuals Deserting Bush 9

Robert J. Samuelson in today’s Washington Post:

Is compassionate conservatism (a) a genuine governing philosophy or (b) merely a clever sound bite?

Five years later, we know that the answer is (b).


In practice, Bush has taken the most self-serving aspect of modern liberalism (its instinct to buy public support with massive government handouts) and fused it with the most self-serving aspect of modern conservatism (its instinct to buy support with massive tax cuts).

And George Will reflects on the Miers nomination:

The president’s “argument” for her amounts to: Trust me.

There is no reason to, for several reasons.

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.


In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech.

Of course, a lot of folks may not agree with Mr. Will that the McCain-Feingold law is an unconstitutional abridgement of political speech; rather, many see it as a (flawed) attempt to release political speech from rope of big money that has been slowly garrotting it for years. Those same folks, though, might look at the secretiveness and disdain for civil liberties shown by the current Federal Administration and draw the same conclusion:

The current Federal Administration has little respect for the Constitution or for the values expressed therein.



  1. Midas

    October 5, 2005 at 10:44 pm

    I haven’t seen RS’s op-ed yet, but I admit I was surprised by Will’s. He reads like he was writing about Bush the Elder (of whom George Will has little good to say).

    More to the point, I support about 90% of this administration’s actions, but the remaining 10%: Their breezy dismissal of bedrock constitutional concepts (“habeus corpus? Never heard of it”) terrifies me.

    I must use the standard right wing tactic, whenever the Elephants do something stupid, of turning the discussion to the Donkeys. I’m really, really ticked at the GWB White House about their constitutional stunts, but I waited in vain during 2004 for John Kerry to stake out “the moral highground.” Was it a campaign decision to ignore the unamerican behavior of the current occupant, or did the Donkeys implicitly endorse the behavior?

    If you could direct me to a -hopefully short- remark that was made in 2004 re Bush’s unfitness for office, by responsible Democrats, I would appreciate it.


  2. Opie

    October 5, 2005 at 11:28 pm

    One of those little coincidences in life… I read Will’s column just an hour or two before seeing Frank’s reference to it. He certainly took W to the woodshed. Will has an ego, and has never given total deference to any president I can remember, not even Reagan.

  3. Frank

    October 6, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    I have always liked George Will. He reminds me of William F. Buckley, Jr. I don’t agree with many of his conclusions, but he is an incisive and intellectually honest thinker, and one who does not sway with the winds of convenience.

  4. Frank

    October 6, 2005 at 6:31 pm

    Midas, I think this will speak to your comments:

    My Congressman is a Republican. I’ve voted for him every time he has run. He’s a good man.

    When I lived in Narberth, Pa., I had a Republican Congressman (Larry Coughlin), who I was happy to support.

    There is a noble heritage within the Republican Party–the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Gerald Ford (a good and decent man), and God help me, Richard Nixon, who, if he hadn’t been so paranoid, would be remembered as one of the country’s great presidents (he is a true tragic figure in American politics).

    Then there is the party of Grant, Harding, and Hoover.

    The crop that is in the White House is not cut from the same mold as Bill Castle, Larry Coughlin, Nelson Rockefeller, Ev Dirksen, or even Bob Taft (Sr.).

    It’s a damned shame.

  5. Opie

    October 6, 2005 at 8:07 pm

    Everett Dirksen! A blast from the past. The Walmart I quote gasoline prices from on here is on Dirksen Parkway, a street named for him ten minutes from my house. We are non-partisan, though… take Dirksen Parkway southbound to its end and you will have to turn right or left onto Stevenson Drive.

  6. Not Always Mayberry » Blog Archive » All we are saying is give trackback a chance.

    October 6, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    […] So what to trackback about? Frank Bell has a recent entry on From Pine View Farm entitled “Conservative Intellectuals Deserting Bush.” I have joined the comment discussion on that e […]

  7. Frank

    October 7, 2005 at 11:01 am

    Hmm, I would think that, if you were driving down Dirksen and came to Stevenson, a left turn would be the only possible option.

  8. Opie

    October 7, 2005 at 4:29 pm

    LOL! Good point! By the way, I briefly worked with Adlai Stevenson IV. He was a reporter at WMBD-TV when I was a studio tech there. Got to meet his dad, too.

    Ad pretty much had to move on when his dad ran for governor here. The station felt really uncomfortable having a reporter on staff whose father of the same name was the Demo nominee at the top of the ticket. The word I heard was they helped him find a job out of state. How often has your boss found you a new job before he pushed you out the door? Me neither.

  9. Frank

    October 7, 2005 at 8:34 pm

    (grin) Same here.