Andrew Sullivan complains about a supposed double standard among conservatives and the staff at the National Review in particular:
Ponnuru argues…that he and others at National Review have indeed opposed Bush’s big government nanny-state tendencies….Fair enough – to a point. But try this counter-factual: If Al Gore, say, had, turned a surplus into years of mounting debt, if he’d added a huge new federal entitlement to Medicare, if he’d over-ridden the rights of states to set their own laws with regard, say, to education, if he’d put tariffs on steel, if he’d increased government spending faster than anyone since LBJ, if he’d said that government’s job was to heal hurt wherever it exists, if he’d ramped up agricultural subsidies, poured money into the Labour and Education Departments, thrown public dollars at corporate America, spent gobs of money on helping individuals in bad marriages, used the Constitution as an instrument of social policy, given government the right to detain people without trial and subject them to torture, and on and on, I don’t think National Review would have been content merely to nitpick. Do you? I think they would have mounted a ferocious attempt to remove the guy from office…I think that tells you a lot about where some conservative thinkers are really coming from.
I guess I fail to see the point. Obviously, they would work to remove a Democrat (and particularly Al Gore) had he followed those same policies. Because he would have no redeeming virtues.
Look, I would have loved to fire George Bush for all those things, but there was no way to do that without replacing him with someone who would almost certainly be even worse on almost all of those issues, and who was unserious about our defense as well. There were no conservatives on offer in this past election on domestic economic issues.
Does Andrew really believe that if the folks at The National Review aren’t actively trying to remove Bush from office (to be replaced with…what, exactly?) that they cannot claim to be conservatives? Sorry, but makes no sense at all. To paraphrase Don Rumsfeld, you work with the president you have, not the one you wish you had.