Questions for Dick Armey
links for 2007-06-06

Honest Conservative Brink Lindsey Attempts an Intellectual Judo Move...

Brink Lindsey--an honest conservative--argues that the appalling insanities and malevolences of the Bush administration are not an argument against but an argument for true conservatism:[F]for years big-government conservatives have pointed to the government-shutdown debacle of 1995 as proof positive that the limited-government agenda was doomed, doomed, doomed for all time.... [I]t’s worked rather well, too: the whole idea of compassionate conservatism was born from accepting the force of that argument.

So if anti-libertarians can make such hay out of one fleeting episode, aren’t libertarians justified in returning the favor on the basis of six solid years (and counting) of virtually nonstop blunders?

But there’s more to this than turnabout as fair play. Ross [Douthat] is correct that many of Bush’s greatest misses (prescription drug benefit, steel tariffs, farm bill, energy bill, transportation bill, McCain-Feingold) should be chalked up to vote-buying expediency rather than any considered Hamiltonian governing philosophy. However... the... abandonment of any principled commitment to limited government... facilitated this binge.... The strongest case for strict limits on what government can do... [is that] in the real world... political expediency, as determined by unprincipled hacks, will usually carry the day. And the Bush administration’s sorry record now serves as People’s Exhibit A...

He has a point.