Jonah Goldberg has written the kind of article that liberals just love, Compassionate Conservatism Redux. In it, he admits that this election has taught him a valuable lesson: as much as he and the other evil men at National Review may love their “Give me low tax rates and give them death” ideology, they need a kinder, a gentler conservatism if they are going to convince the rubes to vote for them. And what is the kinder, gentler conservatism? Certainly not George Bush Sr. He wants to take us back to George Bush Jr. and his idea of “compassionate conservatism.”
Quick: what made Bush’s conservatism compassionate? Bmmpth! You couldn’t think of it quickly, because he never actually governed that way. But let’s go back to the way that he claimed he would govern. Goldberg reminds us:
Let’s see here: would a man who cared about, say, seniors, pass a law that was first and foremost a giveaway to drug companies? Would a man planning on a “humble foreign policy” have Dick Cheney as Vice President? It doesn’t really matter. The truth is that I have no memory of a Republican ever governing based upon his campaign. Sure: they all promise tax cuts and they almost always pass them. But other stuff? Not really. Remember Reagan? Remember how terrible the federal deficit was and how he was going to knock it out with those three 10 percentage point tax cuts? I do.
When a Republican promises something like fiscal restraint or human compassion, I know they are lying. So when Jonah Goldberg says that the Republicans need to revisit “compassionate conservatism,” what he means is that they need to sound more compassionate. And once in office, they can devastate the poor and start a bunch of new wars. In other words, what Goldberg is really saying is that he’s been too honest in the past.