Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Neumayr: GWB Has Guilt Complex

George Neumayr is an acutely perceptive analyst and pundit. Even BEFORE Bush proposed using the military to enforce quarantines, N. wrote the following:

Bush drifts easily into contradictory positions -- conservative attitudes coexisting unconvincingly with liberal assumptions -- because one of the organizing principles of his presidency has been: How can we present positions that anticipate, and if politically possible given our base, incorporate elements of a likely liberal critique?

This inferiority complex about liberalism, which defined so much of his father's presidency, has driven much of his: from education ("standards" and "accountability," conservative themes, are coupled in Bush's mind with a leftist understanding of the federal government's role in education) to taxes (Bush resorted at one point to Keynesian garble to justify tax cuts that could have been justified on a straightforward understanding of limited government alone) to the war (as Bush ran into a buzz saw of unpopular opinion in fashionable circles, he placed greater and greater emphasis on a Wilsonian justification of war for "democracy" and "women's rights").

The left is so far to the left that Bush, even though he almost always hovers near the center, and is smart enough never to cross it clumsily like his father, appears to leftists as "radically conservative." Would that it were so. Even in areas where Bush has stuck his neck out culturally, he doesn't question the liberal premises of the debate.

That's about the sum and substance.

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