Writing in The Federalist, Ben Domenech notes how some “compassionate conservatives” are looking to make a comeback. As much as I like George W. Bush, I wasn’t a big fan of his compassionate conservatism. What did it bring us? Bigger government and more debt. Bush was still bashed by liberals because they thought he should have spent even more.
In the year since President Barack Obama’s re-election, a handful of advocates for compassionate conservatism have re-emerged to push back against limited government conservatives with the same agenda they’ve been peddling for nearly 15 years. Built around a message of governance in favor of the public good, they have chided the Tea Party and its limited government allies for ignoring the plight of the poor, heartlessly pursuing libertarian ends, and adopting a view of government’s proper role which is unrealistic and ahistorical.
The problem is that their own views are based on assumptions undermined by the failings of the George W. Bush presidency and by the organic growth in distrust in government among all Americans – and they fail to recognize the inherent weakness of their message, which confuses a political slogan with a coherent philosophy of governance and would allow for sweeping expansions of the state.
Read the whole thing. Unfortunately, some Republicans already are climbing on board the compassionate conservatism bandwagon.
It’s not that we as conservatives are lacking in compassion. Conservatives give far more to charity than liberals do. It’s just that expanding government, increasing debt, and making people even more dependent is far from compassionate.