August 6, 2002


Conservative Touchstones (Joshua Claybourn, August 06, 2002)
Joshua Claybourn has posted his rating of President Bush on the conservatism scale we proposed here last week. I'd aver that once you start fractionalizing scores you're really not measuring how the President stands on the issue any more, but how closely he hews to your personal ideal. There are three issues on which I'd differ with Mr. Claybourn :
(7)Anti-abortion, anti-cloning, anti-euthanasia = .75
High marks for talk, low marks on action. Granted, the President just signed a bill restricting certain abortion procedures, but it won't affect much of anything. When the President signs a bill banning partial birth abortion, I'll take him seriously here.

(8) Opposed to legalization of drugs = 0.5
Right now you're asking yourself, "what on earth was that score for?" I'm just not convinced that opposing legalization of drugs is a "conservative" stance. Granted, I oppose legalizing drugs in most cases, but that doesn't make it conservative. For example, the "conservative" National Review favors drug legalization, as does Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. This isn't a "conservative touchstone" at all.

(9) Anti Separation of Church and State = uhhh
Once again, who decided this is a conservative touchstone? I would wager that most "conservatives" favor a separation. They don't want the Church to be hindered in helping (see Bush's compassionate conservatism), but at the same time separation lends a certain amount of security from government meddling. So despite the fact I think this is a silly category, Bush has staked out a reasonable position on the issue and gets a 9.0.

On #7, Mr. Claybourn requires an action of which the President is not capable. Let the Senate pass a partial-birth abortion ban and then if Mr. Bush fails to sign it we can lower his score. Putting John Ashcroft in charge of Justice and making conservative court appointments is what matters here until the GOP has big enough margins in both houses to begin passing pro-life laws.
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2002 8:23 AM
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