Right Wing of the Reality-Based Community

Washington Monthly, a conservative publication, has a series of essays written by actual conservatives listing the reasons why the Republican Party should lose control of the congress. Jeffery Hart, speech writer for Reagan and Nixon, has this to say in his essay:

Edmund Burke was the original enemy of ideology. In the slogans of the French philosophes, Burke saw something new and alarming in politics, and he struggled for language to describe it, writing of "abstract theory" and "metaphysical dogma." Burke was seeking a way to describe a belief system impervious to fact or experience, and he brought to bear a permanently valid analysis of human behavior and the role of social institutions. William F. Buckley once summed up Burke’s outlook when he called conservatism the "politics of reality."

But that was then. Today, the standard-bearer of "conservatism" in the United States is George W. Bush, a man who has taken the positions of an unshakable ideologue: on supply-side economics, on privatization, on Social Security, on the Terri Schiavo case, and, most disastrously, on Iraq. Never before has a United States president consistently adhered to beliefs so disconnected from actuality.

That members of the judiciary were being chastised for responding to the law as written rather than looking, presumably, to some sort of divine guidance was hardly surprising. In 2002, Bush himself had said, "We need common-sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God." In this chilling use of the word "God," the president made his views on the rule of law all too clear. The conservative writer Andrew Sullivan has aptly coined the term "Christianism" to refer to this merger of religiosity and politics. (Emphasis mine.)
It seems that the reality-based community includes Conservatives. Mr. Hart, contending that President Bush is, essentially, not a Conservative but a 'Conservativist.'

I'm not about to go through a list of the ways that Bush fails to meet the requirements of 'Conservatism' but I'll agree. What I've read of Burke doesn't seem to agree with Republican Policy.
On the subject of democratizing Iraq and the Middle East, Bush has voiced some of the most extraordinarily ideological statements ever made by a sitting president. “Human cultures can be vastly different,” Bush told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute in February 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq. “Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on earth…For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror.”

Happy thoughts, breathtakingly false. If this amounts to a worldview, it’s certainly not that of Burke. Indeed, Bush would probably be more at home among the revolutionary French, provided his taxes remained low, than among Burke’s Rockingham Whigs. (Burke would of course deny Bush admission to the Whigs in the first place, as Bush would be seen as an ideological comrade of the philosophes —if a singularly unreflective one.) It’s no surprise that longtime conservatives such as Francis Fukuyama, George F. Will, and William F. Buckley have all distanced themselves from Bush’s brand of adventurism.

The United States has seen political swings and produced its share of extremists, but its political character, whether liberals or conservatives have been in charge, has always remained fundamentally Burkean. The Constitution itself is a Burkean document, one that slows down decisions to allow for “deliberate sense” and checks and balances. President Bush has nearly upended that tradition, abandoning traditional realism in favor of a warped and incoherent brand of idealism. (No wonder Bush supporter Fred Barnes has praised him as a radical.) At this dangerous point in history, we must depend on the decisions of an astonishingly feckless chief executive: an empty vessel filled with equal parts Rove and Rousseau.

Successful government by either Democrats or Republicans has always been, above all, realistic. FDR, Eisenhower, and Reagan were all reelected by landslides and rank as great presidents who responded to the world as it is, not the world as they would have it.
These articles make us feel better because we see 'sanity' on the other side. People who should be happy that Republicans control the government share some of our criticisms of BushCo. and his Republican side-kicks.

It's all well and good that Conservatives don't like religo-cowboy adventurism. That isn't going to get them to vote for Russ Feingold. And for all the talk about Edmund Burke, the majority of Republican voters (and probably voters in general) would reply "Ed who?" You can say over and over that Bush and the Republicans aren't big 'C' Conservatives but it won't change the fact that his policies, positions and persona appeal to a lot of people. They're not big 'C' Conservatives either.

I have no 'hard analysis' of Mr. Hart's essay. I just thought that it should be pointed out. Go read the whole thing.

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