WaPo columnist Michael Gerson sheds a tear for the unappreciated "gains" of the Bush administration in striving to legislate liberal positions from a Republican White House. Gerson notes his first meeting with Governor Dubya:
"He talked with rushed intensity about being a 'different kind of Republican,' dedicated to racial healing and helping the poor and determined to provide moral leadership as a contrast and corrective to the Clinton years."
Talk about a whitewash. The reason that the conservative core of the Republican party is falling apart is because of this sort of squishy, liberal pander. "Uncompassionate" conservatism through its support of welfare reform, tax cuts, and business-friendly policies is more likely to help the poor, heal racial bonds, and the like precisely because it does not seek to exploit these groups for positive PR.
The most unfortunate consequence of Bush's embrace of compassionate conservatism is that it played into the idea that it was unusual to be both compassionate and conservative.
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