I often disagree with TNR’s Peter Beinart. But his latest essay, debunking the myth that George W. Bush isn’t really a conservative, is dead on.
“Rarely has so widespread a view been so wrong,” Beinart writes. “In fact, Bush is not merely conservative; he is more conservative than Ronald Reagan, the man whose ideological legacy he has supposedly betrayed.”
The argument being peddled by conservative intellectuals is as disingenuous as the argument made by liberal hawks that they didn’t know Bush would screw up Iraq so badly.
It’s a convenient excuse for movement conservatives. The governing philosophy isn’t the problem, the man is. Yet it’s factually inaccurate and a gross misrepresentation of history.
In fact, Bush’s policies were always the problem. “Conservatives aren’t turning on Bush because his policies aren’t conservative,” Beinart writes. “They are turning on him because his policies, from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, have dramatically failed–and failed policies, by definition, cannot be conservative. Poor George W. Bush. His supporters fear the Democrats, but they fear cognitive dissonance far more.”