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Conservative is not Republican

I can’t tell for sure if Josh Treviño is quoting Christopher Buckley approvingly or not, but in case he is, I take exception with this statement:

“While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of ‘conservative’ government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.”

Anyone who would call the Bush administration eight years of conservative government I think is playing fast and loose with definitions. Especially for the Bush/Daschle/Hastert years, but also for the Bush/Lott-Frist/Hastert years, I don’t see conservative control of government there.

Can anyone point to me how any of the above listed men (President Bush, Senators Daschle, Lott, and Frist, and Speaker Hastert) have any ties to the conservative movement in any form? What did they do, or write, or say, that connected them with us before taking office, or while they were in office?

If one wants to question one’s ties to the Republican Party, I can be sympathetic. I’ve sure done that enough from time to time, even though I’m currently convinced that conservatives are best served by fighting hard within the party and for the coalition. But I don’t see how the conservaitve movement, as fragmented as it always has been, is represented by what goes on in Washington.

And of all people, Christopher Buckley should know that. If he doesn’t, he should try to step back and look on his family history, as so many of us not named Buckley have, and see how conservatives have often been less than fully at ease or welcomed into the party. There’s a reason that Christopher’s own uncle James was once elected United States Senator from New York on the Conservative party line, defeating Republican incumbent and Governor Rockefeller appointee Charles Goodell, after all.

The fact that the younger Buckley is so seemingly ignorant of the histories of the movement and the party, or willing to ignore them for the sake of endorsing Barack Obama, is such a disappointment for someone who trades on his father’s name.

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