2003 July 26 Saturday
George Will On George W. Bush As Enemy Of Conservatism

George F. Will doesn't explicitly call Bush an enemy of conservatiism. But he certainly argues that in many ways Bush's decisions are undermining many conservative causes. Will explores how it is that George W. Bush, a man who seems to have basic strongly held conservative beliefs, is pursuing policies that are contrary to the beliefs of most conservatives.

Today a conservative administration is close to asserting that whatever the facts turn out to be regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the enforcement of U.N. resolutions was a sufficient reason for war. If so, war was waged to strengthen the United Nations as author and enforcer of international norms of behavior.

Bush isn't just doing this in foreign policy. He's doing it on domestic issues as well.

The conservative faction that focuses on constitutionalism and democratic due process winced when the president seemed to approve of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's opinion affirming the constitutionality of racial preferences for diversity in higher education -- and perhaps in many other spheres of life. The concept of group rights -- of government complicity in allocating wealth and opportunity on the basis of skin pigmentation -- now has a conservative president's imprimatur.

Bush's desire to woo the Hispanic vote has led him to effectively abandon opposition to racial preferences while still giving minimal lip service to the idea that they are a bad thing. He had a chance to come out strongly against racial preferences in the University of Michigan case but overruled US Solicitor General Theodore Olson and had White House aides write a brief to the Supreme Court that gave Sandra Day O'Connor the space in which to write a ruling that allows racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics to remain in place.

Will speculates that the Bush Administration has placed a high priority on avoiding fights on cultural questions. I think Bush places a very high priority on getting elected and thinks that is far more important than the long term future of the Republican Party.

My biggest (but far from only) problem with Bush on foreign policy is that I seriously doubt he will make the moves that will prevent Iran and North Korea from building large numbers of nuclear bombs. Also, he is not pursuing a long term energy policy that will eliminate the world's reliance on Middle Eastern oil. As long as that reliance exists the Middle East is going to be a continuing threat to US national security.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 July 26 01:47 PM  Politics American Domestic

John Moore (Useful Fools) said at July 26, 2003 8:40 PM:

Will is certainly right when it comes to the culture wars and other domestic policy issues. Bush is a moderate on much of domestic policy, with his inexcusable support for the "diversity" opinion and his increased social spending.

I think Will is wrong about the Iraq justification, as the Bush administration has offered a number of conservative reasons having nothing to do with the UN.

As far as his fear about Iran and Korea becoming nuclear states, I agree. I thought GWB would take out the Korean fuel rods and reactor before the rods were moved and reprocessing. This apparently didn't happen (HOPEFULLY because he had intelligence information we aren't privy to, and not just because he was afraid to do it).

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