George W. Bush: Radical Liberal

The other day, I heard Senator Charles Schumer (spit) talking about the Alito nomination. Among his other frothings and rants, he said George W. Bush “wants to radically change the balance of the Supreme Court.”

Even a blind pig occaionally finds a truffle, and Senator Schmuck triggered a thought in my head:

George W. Bush is, in some ways, no conservative. In fact, he’s a radical liberal, a progressive, of the type that puts many of the great leaders of the Left — past and present — to shame.

One of the hallmarks of Conservatism has been, well, conserving. Keeping things the way they are. Maintaining the status quo. Preserving the current Order. Holding firm against radical changes.

Bush doesn’t hold with that. He sees it much more simply: if something is bad, you fix it. Even if there are benefits to the broken system, it still ought to be righted.

For decades, the Middle East has been a festering sore. But one of the biggest bugaboos was “stability.” Every step anyone took had to be carefully weighed against “destabilizing” the region. The idea was that the current situation was horrible, but tolerable. If one’s primary concern was avoiding an all-out war, then a certain level of hostility, violence, and killing had to be tolerated. It was fine if people were killed or maimed in attacks, as long as it was held below a certain threshold.

After 9/11, Bush looked at that, tossed the nuances aside, and figured it was long overdue to upset the applecart. So the US invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban, and helped institute a more democratic government. Then it was on to Iraq, where the slogging was a lot tougher, but we’re seeing more and more signs of progress and success. And those efforts have led directly to positive moves in Lebanon and Libya. Further, even the UN is waking up, and leaning on Syria after it has spent literally decades oppressing Lebanon. And the Lebanese themselves are looking to get rid of some of the Palestinian terrorist groups that occupy chunks of their land, and that might even end up with actual diplomatic ties between Lebanon and Israel.

On the domestic front, Bush looked at Social Security and saw it was heading for a fall — perhaps a fatal one. True, it was decades away, and had been called “the third rail of American politics” for its history of killing any politician who touched it, but it was broken. His plan (which I thought was eminently sensible, and was promptly demonized by the left) has been defeated for now, but a LOT of people are now thinking and talking about it. He may not have won the battle, but the issue is out in the open now — and won’t go away.

With all that in mind, what’s Bush up to with the Supreme Court? It looks like he’s simply looking for the best candidates he can find, those whose judicial philosophy seems to be compatible with his own, and puts them forward. (I dunno how the Miers nomination fits in, so I’m gonna call it an aberration.) And if that happens to mean that the Court ends up moving in a more conservative direction, I think that’s only fair — it’s been drifting leftward for decades, as more and more Republican nominees get caught up in the DC cesspool and find themselves making more and more decisions that please their new neighbors and social circles.

So, Senator Schmuck doesn’t like the idea of Bush “upsetting the balance” of the Supreme Court, replacing the squishy Justice O’Connor with someone who appears to have firm Constitutional principles. I dunno how he gets off acting so “shocked” by this — it’s just the latest manifestation of Bush’s radical progressivism.

But then again, Senator Schmuck has never impressed me with his intellect.

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Bonfire of the Vanities #122


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