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Conservatism Needs a Fresh Start

From the American Thinker today, comes Larrey Anderson [1]:

Conservatism needs a fresh start. It is losing arguments … and it is losing elections. One person, more than any other (even more than John McCain), has caused this: President George W.  Bush.

Conservatives have not been winning arguments — or elections — by defending President Bush and his record. We have been, repeatedly, thumped rhetorically and electorally in our efforts to support his policies. It is time for conservatives to move on.

 

George W. Bush is undoubtedly a sincere man. He is, in all probability, a good man. His dramatic conversion to Christianity indicates that he, at least at this point in his life, is a man of high moral principles. He is compassionate. And therein lies the problem: President Bush was too compassionate to be a good president.

 

A few conservatives saw this coming. I remember cringing at Bush’s promise for “compassionate conservatism [2]” and at these lines from his first Inaugural Address [3]:

 

Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation’s promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.

America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.

 

President Bush really believed this — and probably still does. His opposition on the left, however, never has believed it and never will. President Bush “misunderestimated” the ruthlessness of his political opposition. And the Democrats spent eight years running circles around him. As a result, conservatism will probably spend the next eight years paying for Bush’s naïveté.
Well, look, we’ve been saying this here forever. for longer, n fact than this blog has been here as such. I expressed my concerns back in 99 when this phrase ‘compassionate conservatism’ started cropping up. The concern has been confirmed. The undeniable change that has occurred between the time that Newt Gingrich [4] garnered 46% approval ratings and now is that the Republicans [5] as a party and as individuals have tilted left in dramatic fashion. His father was much the same. (Which is why I so often find the Democrats attempt to label either one as the next Adolph Hitler so amusing…)
However Anderson goes on to lay the blame for the current problems for the Republicans all at the feet of GWB, echoing the BDS that the left has been so wrapped up in.  I think this to be at least misdirected.
True, both Bush administrations have issues, but so too does anyone trying to lay all the problem at their feet. Both Bush administrations by my lights, are symptoms, not causes, of the current problems of the Republicans. So busy being ‘compassionate’ and trying to be more like lliberals, they’ve forgotten all about being conservative. They were the better choice, between them and the people they ran against, but they weren’t the best the Republicans could offer.
And guess what? Our problems are marked by a direct relationship… how deep in the soup we get is directly linked to how far left we tilt trying to get the left to like us.  Our problem is the lack of conservative direction from the rank and file and from the GOP leadership.
I told you folks over a year back [6]:
This next election [7] is not going to be won by a ‘moderate’. There is no ‘center’ anymore… and claiming it is no refuge. The American people, whatever else might be said about them, are not inclined to go with a centrist from either party.
The winner of this next election [7] will be someone who consistently and loudly stands up for the principles of the party they claim.

Well, guess what, Gang? McCain didn’t do that. Obama dedicated far leftist he is, did.

Here’s something else; That statement of mine from over a year ago holds true for 2012, too.

Now’s the time to start working to that end.