Thursday, January 22, 2004

Fair & Balanced: Cato goes after W

with 2 themes -- (1) Bush Hate is no more warranted than Clinton Hate (and no less), but anger is; (2) his policies rarely intersect with with conservatism

The Conservative Case Against George W. Bush
THEME 1: Hate is stupid but criticism is not, and resentment of that criticism is shamefully hypocritical...

"Hatred of Bill Clinton never made sense. In contrast, anger was fully justified.
...Similarly, though George W. Bush is very different from Bill Clinton, hatred makes no sense. But anger is appropriate.

Much of the liberal case against President Bush is barely short of silly. His election was not illegitimate. Whether or not the candidate with the most votes should win, that's not what the U.S. Constitution says. Blame the Founders, not George W. Bush.

Complaints about Bush's fabled inarticulateness and privileged background are superficial. More worrisome are his partisan focus, demand for personal loyalty, and tendency to keep score, but these are hardly characteristics warranting hatred...

The tendency to hate, really hate, opposing politicians surely is not good for American democracy. It is not rational to hate George W. Bush, just as it was not rational to hate Bill Clinton. But after spending eight years hating Clinton, conservatives who complain about the Bush-haters appear to be hypocrites.

THEME 2: But this president deserves to be criticized. Sharply. By anyone who believes in limited, constitutional government.

First, George W. Bush, despite laudable personal and family characteristics, is remarkably incurious and ill read. Gut instincts can carry even a gifted politician only so far. And a lack of knowledge leaves him vulnerable to simplistic remedies to complex problems, especially when it comes to turning America into the globe's governess.

Second, despite occasional exceptions, the Bush administration, backed by the Republican-controlled Congress, has been promoting larger government at almost every turn.

...Third, President George W. Bush has made Woodrow Wilson the guiding spirit of Republican foreign policy. A candidate who criticized nation building is now pursuing global social engineering. "

..."Ironic, isn't it, Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election. Yet if I were to have them killed, I'd be the one sent to jail! That's democracy for you."

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