Illustration: Tweedledum and Tweedledee or ... 44 and 43?
Forced to the ramparts to defend Rush Limbaugh against the spurious, low-down attacks of the Obamedia-plus-hangers-on, conservatives are letting the real enemy of conservatism slip away. That enemy would be George W. Bush, whose stealth political legacy is a tectonic lurch Left for what is popularly thought of as "conservatism." The resulting chaos--crisis, in fact--is exactly what the new collectivist-in-chief has seized on, not to change America's direction, but to accelerate its Leftward shift. This continuity is what conservatives are failing to appreciate and assess, much to the detriment of their own coherence and political message. I tried to get at this jarring continuity between 43 and 44 in last week's column on the Obama return of the Churchill bust to the British when I wrote:
Somewhat complicating our understanding of the incident is the fact that even as George W. Bush may have retained the knickknacks of that same civilization, the 43rd president did more to break with it maybe than any previous president, certainly more than any previous Republican president. Yes, he ordered the military to war upon attack by Islamic terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, to fight ill-defined "extremism." But Bush was first and always an internationalist, a globalist, with no national calling, for example, to stem the massive illegal Hispanic influx that has transformed large swaths of the United States by replacing their Western, English-speaking heritage with a Third World, Spanish-speaking culture.
In countless ways, President Obama is merely extending and expanding policies already initiated by his predecessor. From securing the border, which neither man has considered a priority, to securing a Palestinian state, which both men have considered a priority, to a shared belief in bailout packages that are nationalizing the economy, a neutered lexicon with which to address Islam, and legalizing millions of illegal aliens, there is in both leaders a transformational impulse, intensified and now recognized as radicalism in Obama's case. Does this Bush-Obama nexus represent the place where what we once called "white guilt" and "black rage" overlap? It's possible.
Of course, there's more. Last weekend, Prez O followed up an interview with the NYT with a phone call to the reporter to elaborate on the apparently quite shocking question of whether he, O, was a "socialist." He said, as a I blogged here:
“It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question,” Mr. Obama said from the Oval Office.
He then dismissed the criticism, saying the large-scale government intervention in the markets and the expansion of social welfare programs had begun under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
“It wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks,” Mr. Obama said. “And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement, the prescription drug plan, without a source of funding.”
Yes! But drawing on the mantle of George W. Bush should be no shield against charges of socialism. With his massive expansion of government and his massive intervention in the economy in his final months of office, Bush checked his capitalist credentials long ago. For Obama, this is more smoke and mirrors time.
Amazingly enough, though, the feint is working, although it is hard to credit the magic powers of Obama when the ruse is so clankingly obvious. NYT reporters are hopeless (see how they only blame Bush for mortgage meltdown), but conservatives are in denial (see how they never blame Bush for mortage meltdown). At VDARE.com, Takuan Seiyo parses Charles Krauthammer as another example of the syndrome and comes up with what strikes me as more irrefutable evidence of this denial. Bottom line, he writes:
It's time conservatives realized that railing Tweedledee is useless if they failed to decry Tweedledum.
Read it all here.