The night of the moderates

The list of Republican convention speakers for tonight and tomorrow is dominated by moderate and liberal Republicans. Although I’m eager to hear John McCain, I’m not thrilled with the moderate tenor of the proceedings because I’m a conservative. The MSM isn’t thrilled either, but its leading lights offer a different reason — they contend that the Republicans are concealing the true, conservative face of the party. I hope the MSM is correct that the true face of the party is conservative, but let’s remember that this is President Bush’s convention, not Tom Delay’s. Thus, to the extent that one wants to evaluate the MSM charge of false advertising, the appropriate question is whether moderate speakers conceal the true face of George W. Bush.
The answer, I think, is that they don’t. Though the MSM has chosen to portray Bush as a right-winger, the evidence doesn’t really support this label. Sure, Bush is a “hawk” on foreign policy and the war on terrorism, but so are McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (what Mayor Bloomberg’s position is, I don’t know). On most domestic issues, Bush is not especially conservative, as we have pointed out many times and as Terry Eastland shows here. For example, Bush has increased domestic spending, enlarged the federal role in public education, conferred a huge new prescription drug benefit, supported certain forms of race-based preferences in college admissions, proposed immigration reform involving something like amnesty, and attempted to carve out a middle ground position on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
The one issue where Bush is clearly to the “right” of tonight’s leading speakers (and apparently his own Vice President) is gay marriage. But this disagreement over one issue (no matter how obsessed the media may be with it) is hardly grounds for claiming that, on balance, Bush is immoderate, much less for suggesting that featuring moderate speakers constitutes some sort of fraud on the voters.
The gall of the MSM is staggering. It pins a misleading label on the president, and then argues that he is misleading the electorate by not embracing its label.
HINDROCKET adds: While grabbing some dinner before heading back to the convention, I watched one of the local news shows. The announcer referred to Giuliani and McCain as “moderate Democrats”–a revealing slip of the tongue, I thought. This was followed by Peter Jennings’ unctuous interview with John McCain, in which I kept waiting for Jennings’ logical next question: “You really have to hold your nose when you say you support President Bush, don’t you?” It never quite came, but the implication was very strong.


Books to read from Power Line