The Corner

Derb Nails It

I hate arguing with the boss… but not as much as I hate being


“From reading Derb’s column today, you might get the impression that

evangelicals and Catholics are somehow behind the drift toward

’big-government conservatism.’”

I suppose you might; but on my words as pixeled, it’d be a stretch. The

force of my argument in re religion is that neither evangelical Protestants

nor devout Catholics are necessarily dependable conservatives; though

individually and/or collectively they might be at some point in time.

“The pre-religious right Republican party was characterized by a

go-along-to-get-along establishment that was perfectly happy to accommodate

ever-bigger government.”

Gosh, that must have been awful! Thank goodness that’s all in the past!

“It was thankfully swept away by the religious ‘crazies’…”

Eh? Is the implication here that I think evangelicals or devout Catholics

are crazy? My archived journalism must be well over a

million words by now, going back over 20 years. Where in it have I said

such a thing, or anything even close?

“What happened next is that congressional Republicans got trounced by Bill

Clinton in the budget wars, chastening them forevermore.”

Yes. Conservatism lost. That’s partly what I’m saying. Lost, moribund,

twilight, Goetterdaemmerung,…

“The GOP needed some sort of fresh approach and George Bush came up with

’compassionate conservatism.’”

Correct, and great for the GOP. But for conservatism?

“This was not something forced upon him by religious people.”

I didn’t say it was. I think you are stretching my remark about religiosity

not being necessarily conservative over way too much ground.

“But it’s not as though Bush could have discarded them and built an

anti-statist political majority with some other group of voters.”

Politicians do what they have to do, we all understand that. My complaint

against W is the things he didn’t have to do.

“Today’s Republican party is more anti-regulation than, say, the GOP under

President Bush’s father was.”

So federal regulations on, say, environmental impact cover less printed

pages today than in 1992? You sure?

“It is more anti-tax.”

It’s a little too soon after April 15 for me to read that without a whimper.

“It is too lax on spending…”

Read Steve Moore’s piece “Is U.S. in Slow Motion to Socialism?” in the

5/9/05 _Human Events_. Then tell me if “utterly out of control” wouldn’t be

more accurate than “too lax.”

“Finally, it is more willing to broach fundamental reforms of the welfare

state. Now, through Social Security reform, Bush is actually proposing a

creative way to significantly reduce government’s spending over time and

ultimately its sway over our lives.”

Talking about welfare-state reform after enacting the biggest entitlement

program in the history of the world, is a bit like moving the liquor cabinet

into the basement after recovering from an all-weekender. And how

“fundamental” are the proposed reforms anyway? There will be public

provision for the elderly, as there is now. Middle class folk will make

their own additional investments for old age, as we do now. Sure, the mixes

will be different — ten percent here, ten percent there — and the public

fisc will be helped some — but “fundamental”? Humbug.

“If it sinks, it won’t be because of evangelicals and devout Catholics have

risen up against it.”

There you go again. Who said so? If it sinks, it will be because the

country at large doesn’t want it enough to drown out the loud factions like



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