The Washington Post hasn't had time to focus on radical Code Pink protesters ruining Karl Rove's book signing in Beverly Hills, telling him he was going to "rot in hell." Now that Bush is out of office, they're hardly newsworthy, with only one mention this year, in a recent Dana Milbank column about Israel: "The liberal Code Pink group marched around the building hollering about 'apartheid' and carrying a banner saying 'Stop Israel War Crimes.'" The Post has published "news" articles celebrating Code Pink's "vivid hue and cry."
The Post did, however, grant space in their Sunday Outlook section to conservative activists and authors Craig Shirley and Don Devine to make the case that Rove's memoir shows he and Bush were not conservatives:
In his memoir, Rove defends the Bush record as a truly conservative one. "Some on the right argue that by putting the word compassionate in front of conservatism, George W. Bush somehow diminished the principles that have animated the conservative movement since at least the rise of Barry Goldwater in 1964," he writes. "This wasn't my sense of it at all. Bush is among the most conservative presidents of the modern age. Just look at his tax cuts, pro-life and pro-family stands; his support of free trade and reducing regulation; his belief that competition improves health care, the environment and Social Security; and his insistence on education results."
The Bush administration's move toward big government was not gradual, either; it was signaled during then-Gov. Bush's campaign. In 1999, the journalist Tucker Carlson interviewed Bush in Austin and asked him if he was a small-government conservative. Mr. Bush replied no; he said he was an "efficient-government conservative." Bush's campaign rarely called for spending cuts of any kind and even opposed eliminating the Department of Energy, whose abolition had been in every GOP platform since 1980.
Bush was not the first Republican president to claim the conservative mantle yet merrily grow the size of government; Nixon and Gerald Ford did much the same. Rove and Bush are heirs to a brand of Republicanism rooted in a Tory-style, top-down defense of the status quo. It is not modern conservatism, not the brand that today is finding voice in the "tea party" movement, and certainly not the populist conservatism that found electoral success beginning in the late 1970s.
Shirley and Devine even pass along former speechwriter Matt Latimer's story that Bush wanted the word "movement" stricken from a speech about conservatives since "there is no movement." The Post also published Dan Quayle on Sunday ("Don't Let the Tea Party Go Perot"), so it must have upset a few liberal weekends with that lineup.