I just read Fred Barnes' new bio of the president. It's worth a read, if only to look into what a full-bored defense of everything Bush has done, thought, believed or even sneezed amounts to. A couple of points. Fred writes about the Washington establishment in exactly the same terms he was writing about it in the 1980s - as a liberal monopoly. This from someone on the biggest cable news channel, surrounded by the vast K-Street-GOP nexus, with Republicans controlling House, Senate, White House and a majority on the Supreme Court. Hey, Fred, you are the establishment now. Second, Fred breezily dismisses any dissension on the right. In this book, "there's no paramount national issue that splits Republican ranks." Immigration, abortion, spending, states' rights, civil liberties, torture, pork, executive power, debt, Medicare expansion: these don't count. Fred can even quote the president as follows with not a trace of irony:
"America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state ..."
This from a president who has authorized the torture of military detainees, retains the right to disobey laws he signs, and orders warrantless wire-tapping of American citizens. There may be a defense of these actions, but Fred doesn't even acknowledge that some conservatives are queasy about them.
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