compassionate big-government conservative liberal, is pimping his new book. And he’s got the solution to the GOP woes: spend more money, and get rid of the big, mean, nasty people like Dick Cheney.
For Michael Gerson, the pattern became discouragingly familiar. A proposal to help the poor or sick would be presented at a White House meeting, but Vice President Cheney‘s office or the budget team or some other skeptical officials would shoot it down. Too expensive. Wrong priority.
By the time he left the White House as President Bush‘s senior adviser last year, Gerson by his own account had grown weary of the battle, becoming an irritable colleague disillusioned by the conventions of a political party and a government that seemed indifferent to the plight of the downtrodden. Now he is back with a new book and a publicity tour intended to fight for the identity of the Republican Party.
I’ll prepare you for the next paragraph, because it’s not for people with weak stomachs or allergies to sappy political cliches.
"Traditional conservatism has a piece missing — a piece that is shaped like a conscience," he notes in "Heroic Conservatism." His ambition, he says, is to help "save conservatism from its worst instincts" and build "a conservatism elevated by a radical concern for human rights and dignity."
Umm, yeah. I think Baseball Crank has it about summed up perfectly.
Remember the scene in Wedding Crashers where Owen Wilson tells a woman he’s trying to seduce, "You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts"?
Read everything Michael Gerson says to yourself in Wilson’s voice and imagine he’s saying it to get a girl in bed. It makes so much more sense that way.
That is just so . . .pathetic. But it gets better.
"Right now, there’s a significant backlash against these ideas," Gerson said in an interview at his office at the Council on Foreign Relations last week. "If Republicans adopt a mean, anti-government message, they’re not going to be able to win."
That’s right, Republicans shouldn’t be mean. We should do the truly compassionate thing and make sure that as many people as possible are enslaved by the government’s largesse. Clearly the GOP’s penchant for belt tightening was what got the party in trouble the last election cycle.
Gerson clearly has it out for Cheney.
Gerson writes that he urged Bush to fire Rumsfeld after the 2004 election, but that Cheney opposed the move. He recounts meetings in which Cheney’s office tried to kill proposals to increase training of death-row defense lawyers, transition assistance for prisoners and aid for Hurricane Katrina victims.
"The storm had also revealed a political and moral chasm in the Republican Party," he writes. "The president and I saw Katrina as an opportunity to open a debate on race and poverty. Anti-government Republicans saw Katrina as an opportunity to cut off medicine to old people. It confirmed the worst image of Republicans as the party of shriveled hearts."
Wait, I thought this was supposed to make Cheney look bad. I also thought Cheney had morphed into a neo-con over the past few years. Funny, but it seems that Cheney remains the one true champion of traditional conservatism in the White House.
Of course Gerson’s demagoguery (cut off medicine to old people, shriveled hearts) plays right into the hands of leftists who see conservatives as nothing more than mean-spirited Scrooges out to starve the poor. That Gerson does this and then has the audacity to call himself a conservative is a complete joke. It’s small comfort that this man no longer has the President’s ear, but the damage done by big-government "conservatives" to the party may be irreperable.