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With Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher finally accusing the Bush administration of a crime, the distancing has begun in earnest. From now to November, Republican elected officials who want to keep their jobs will be painting a thin veneer of anti-Bushism over themselves. Their goal will be to paint the unpopular parts of the Bush years as the result of individual cronyism and incompetence, to say that if only we elect good conservatives then everything will be better. Nothing could be further from the truth.

More below the jump...

George W. Bush is supremely competent. Everything that his administration has done, including even the non-response to Katrina, was exactly according to plan -- and any good conservative would do the same. We need to drum that plain fact into the heads of every reporter that we can find, from now to November. We can't afford to let conservatives get away with disowning the inevitable results of their philosophy. To be redeemed, they must recant movement conservatism itself, else they remain wolves inside their sheep suits.

I am not qualified to explain it myself, so I will leave that to the fine folks of the Rockridge Institute. Here are some selected excerpts from that old diary:

Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush's "failures" and label him and his administration as incompetent. For example, Nancy Pelosi said "The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader." Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush’s disasters — Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit — are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a failure of execution. Rather, they are the natural, even inevitable result of his conservative governing philosophy. It is conservatism itself, carried out according to plan, that is at fault. Bush will not be running again, but other conservatives will. His governing philosophy is theirs as well. We should be putting the onus where it belongs, on all conservative office holders and candidates who would lead us off the same cliff.


Conservative philosophy has three fundamental tenets: individual initiative, that is, government’s positive role in people’s lives outside of the military and police should be minimized; the President is the moral authority; and free markets are enough to foster freedom and opportunity.


The response to Hurricane Katrina — rather, the lack of response — was what one should expect from a philosophy that espouses that the government can have no positive role in its citizen’s lives. This response was not about Bush’s incompetence, it was a conservative, shrink-government response to a natural disaster.


Our budget deficit is not the result of incompetent fiscal management. It too is an outgrowth of conservative philosophy. What better way than massive deficits to rid social programs of their funding?


It also indicates that the real motive behind the Iraq war wasn’t to stop Iraq’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, but was a test of neoconservative theory that the US military could reshape Middle East geo-politics. The manipulation and disregard of intelligence to sell the war was not incompetence, it was the product of a conservative agenda.


During the debate over Iraq, the conservative belief in the unquestioned authority and moral leadership of the President helped shape public support. We see this deference to the President constantly: when Conservatives call those questioning the President’s military decisions "unpatriotic"; when Conservatives defend the executive branch’s use of domestic spying in the war on terror; when Bush simply refers to himself as the "decider." "I support our President" was a common justification of assent to the Iraq policy.


Much criticism continues to be launched against this administration for ineptitude in its reconstruction efforts. Tragically, it is here too that the administration’s actions have been shaped less by ineptitude than by deeply held conservative convictions about the role of government.


Finally, many of the miscalculations are the result of a conservative analytic focus on narrow causes and effects, rather than mere incompetence. Evidence for this focus can be seen in conservative domestic policies: Crime policy is based on punishing the criminals, independent of any effort to remedy the larger social issues that cause crime; immigration policy focuses on border issues and the immigrants, and ignores the effects of international and domestic economic policy on population migration; environmental policy is based on what profits there are to be gained or lost today, without attention paid to what the immeasurable long-term costs will be to the shared resource of our environment; education policy, in the form of vouchers, ignores the devastating effects that dismantling the public school system will have on our whole society.


Perhaps the biggest irony of the Bush-is-incompetent frame is that these "failures" — Iraq, Katrina and the budget deficit — have been successes in terms of advancing the conservative agenda.


Conservatism itself is the villain that is harming our people, destroying our environment, and weakening our nation. Conservatives are undermining American values through legislation almost every day. This message applies to every conservative bill proposed to Congress. The issue that arises every day is which philosophy of governing should shape our country. It is the issue of our times. Unless conservative philosophy itself is discredited, Conservatives will continue their domination of public discourse, and with it, will continue their domination of politics.

Originally posted to SciVo on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah, well an idol is still a false god... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    If it is spelled correctly---it's a typo

    by alasmoses on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:42:55 AM PDT

  •  I thought you were writing about this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bush surprised the white-tie audience of more than 600, including Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and lawmakers, by appearing as the final act of the club's annual revue. To the tune of "Green Green Grass of Home," he sang about looking forward to his return to Texas.

    Not being snarky, but with his dancing last week and singing now, it really puts odd behavior out there especially in contrast with the contents of your diary.

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:44:04 AM PDT

  •  Really, it's Rockridge that deserves any tips. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rapala, alasmoses, moviemeister76

    Many thanks to them for their fine work!

  •  You nailed it! YourOnYourOwn except for the $$$ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    men is the conservative goal and Bu$h has succeeded. Of course, conservatives can't admit that this is their goal - to serve the top 2-3% of the population - so, with the help of the corporate media outlets, they put up a variety of smokescreens. No one should be surprised that Harry & Nancy "fell" for it; I think they're OK with the scheme. Nice diary.

  •  You're exactly right! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rapala, SciVo, moviemeister76

    GW Bush represents the PEAK of "Conservatism" in this country.  

    He enjoyed a Republican Congress, AND a Republican Senate.

    He had a Republican Supreme Court.

    He appointed religious wingnuts and conservatives ideologues to every department of the government.

    He appointed more Federal judges than any Democrat.

    He actually IGNORED countless federal laws he personally felt were "liberal."  

    Bush's eight years in office will represent eight years of Conservatism UNCHECKED.  It has been Conservatism in all it's glory.  

    And it's left this country with fiscal disarray, the lowest approval ever by the American people for government, and disdain for the USA around the world, the invasion and occupation of a foriegn country that had nothing to do with us, and an endless war in another.  

    Since agressive ignoranc is the HALLMARK of Conservatism, what has happened is exactly what was to be expected when Conservatives were given control of all branches of government for nearly a decade.  It has been entirely predictable.

    Quite a record for Conservatism.

    The media and Republicans should not be allowed to hear the end of this.  Ever.


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