Friday, October 26, 2007

Phony conservatives think everything's fine

Former Walter Mondale speechwriter Charles Krauthammer is trying to go out of his way in The Washington Post to convince conservatives that the present Presidential field is perfectly acceptable. I mean no personal offense to Mr. Krauthammer, but I have never found his work to bring me great comfort when it comes to reinforcing conservative thought or values. Krauthammer's political philosophy as recounted in his writing indicates that he is a "true" neoconservative-a convert from liberalism who was never able to shed the vestiges of his former ideology, and who probably doesn't identify with many of the American founders except Alexander Hamilton-the "big government" man.

Krauthammer's argument is that none of the Republicans in the field are as substantially different from Ronald Reagan as the true believers would care to admit:

As governor of California, he signed the most liberal abortion legalization bill in America, then flip-flopped and became an abortion opponent.

The difference is that Reagan meant it and showed that he did. He gave the pro-life movement virtually everything that he legally could have during his eight years in office, and that is one of the reasons Reagan is still the darling of the pro-life cause. He once said that signing that abortion bill was one of his worst regrets in his political career.

We can't expect Krauthammer to admit that, however, since he himself is pro-abortion.

Krauthammer's remarks about Supreme Court Justices seem to indicate that he is going senile.

[Reagan] gave us Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, the two swing votes that upheld and enshrined Roe v. Wade for the last quarter-century.

To be fair to both Reagan and Sandra Day, Reagan had no way to know that Justice O'Connor would flip-flop herself on the pro-life question. Her record prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court would certainly not have given him any indication. Further, Sandra Day O' Connor didn't just flip-flop on abortion once she got to the Supreme Court, but did so several times while sitting on the Court.

What about Anthony Kennedy? Kennedy was actually Reagan's third choice for that seat on the Court. His original choice was the great jurist and constitutional scholar Robert Bork, a man whose knowledge of the Constitution and whose strict constructionist interpretation would have been invaluable on a Reagan Supreme Court (it also bears noting that Kennedy has come to his conservative senses of late).

Contrast this with the present Republican field in 2008. Rudy Guiliani is openly pro-abortion. John McCain says he is pro-life but has yet to prove himself trustworthy on the issue. In Mitt Romney's case, I actually believe the man when he says he is pro-life-I think he lied to the people of Massachusetts when he told them otherwise in 2002. Since I think that is the case, I am equally uncomfortable with Romney, for at least Guiliani has been honest about his views from the beginning.

Krauthammer and his ilk are precisely why I no longer subscribe to The Weekly Standard, for I quickly figured out that they should have called that magazine The Recovering Liberal, because the editors and many of the writers couldn't quite get liberal thinking out of their head. Bill Kristol is essentially (by his own admission) non-ideological. His conservatism is a matter of economy, not genuine belief in a set of unshakable conservative principled. Hence, those writers who think like he does (such as Krauthammer) cannot fathom why many conservatives see a problem with the Presidential field.

Add to this yet more confirmation, in the form of James Pinkerton's column in New York Newsday yesterday, that illegal immigration is becoming the defining issue of the 2008 campaign, and we begin to see the reason for Krauthammer's attempt to sing the siren song to conservatives-the Presidential field is fine for those who think like him. Real conservatives had best hush up.



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