Shorter Kevin Drum:
The Bush-led Republican Party is the bed conservatives made, and now they have to lie in it.
Absolutely right. It’s called “accountability.” Or as an old senator once said, “Politicians are like checks; if you can’t get satisfaction from the maker, you go after the endorser.” No conservative who supported Bush’s re-election has any standing to complain that Bushism isn’t “really conservatism.”
Related thoughts here. Yes, it’s true that if conservatism means what Burke and Oakeshott preached — a tendency toward caution and respect for tradition — or what Hayek preached — a distrust of centralized decision-making in a world of distributed information — then Bushism is indeed not “conservative.” But then neither is contemporary American “conservatism.” It is in various degrees and combinations plutocratic, imperialist, authoritarian, libertarian, theocratic, racist, nativist, and obscurantist, but no part of it has any respect for what Oakeshott called “the balance of things.” The older I get, the more I respect the thought of Burke, Oakeshott, and Hayek, and the more I despise the contemporary right.