Friday, July 07, 2006

Sullivan vs. Ponnuru

If you've been following the late bickering between NRO's Ramesh Ponnuru and Andrew Sullivan, I think you can stop now. Here's the KO punch, from Sullivan:


"I'm for balanced budgets, low taxes, cuts in entitlements, welfare reform, more military manpower, privately run healthcare, free speech, religious liberty, a stronger commitment to Iraq, and gun rights. I'm against affirmative action, federally-funded abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, protectionism, hate crime laws, the Medicare prescription drug program, pork barrel spending, torture, an untrammeled executive, and censoring anyone anywhere to appease Islamist extremists. And, according to Ponnuru, no "serious" conservative regards me as a conservative any more. What does that tell you?"

Say uncle, Ramesh. I count precisely one issue above on which the current president has staked a genuine, unequivocal conservative claim - denying federal funding to abortion and stem-cell research. He has either directly opposed, or failed spectacularly to effect, every other policy position above. Every single one. If that is not a failed presidency in general, there is no way out of saying it is a failed presidency for conservatism. But the naked intent of Bush partisans like Ponnuru is to hide the corpse of political principle long enough to exculpate George Bush - to be a meager functionary rather than a thinking human being, in other words.

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