Krugman Bait

Can't resist:

The Bush years have in fact not discredited conservatism, a point made suggestively--if, one senses, accidentally--by, of all people, Michael Dukakis.

"'What's conservative about invading Iraq?" he asked in a Washington Post story. "What's conservative about a $400 billion deficit?" Though Dukakis went on to say, shades of 1988, that "The terms have lost their meaning," his rhetorical questions underscore that even liberals don't connect the Bush administration's failures to traditional conservative principles. They criticize Bush by holding his policies up to conservative standards--and finding him lacking. What Bush has discredited is not conservatism, but the Republican Party.

This is too easy. The fact is: the worst elements of American conservatism took hold under Bush and the better angels surrendered. You can find in the Reagan era two strands. The first is smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, strong, pragmatic defense, judicial restraint, individual freedom, personal responsibility. The second is executive over-reach, fiscal irresponsibility, impulsive interventionism, religious extremism, moral meddling, and, in the end, bigger government. We can do what we can to remind ourselves what theoretical conservatism stands for and how far Bush strayed from that. But we're deluding ourselves if we miss the flaws that were already there in American conservatism from the beginning.