Bush turns into a liberal when it serves his purpose by Martin Schram

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This controversy points up a bizarre and philosophically contradictory pattern that has occurred when staunch conservatives inhabit the Oval Office. Conservative presidents _ when stymied by laws preventing them from actions they believe in their hearts is right _ turn liberal. They jettison their strict constructionist principles. They liberally interpret their powers in ways conservatives always claimed liberal presidents did.

That is what President Reagan did in his Iran-Contra scandal. He liberally interpreted his powers, claiming the right to bypass congressional prohibitions on providing aid to Nicaragua's contra rebels. He sold weapons to Iran's ayatollah and secretly funneled Iran's anti-American money to Nicaragua's anti-communist contras.

Now another conservative has turned liberal: Bush stretched his executive powers in a way that surely has sent Jefferson, Madison and Barry Goldwater whirling in their places of what should have been final rest.

Philosophic conservatives, being strict constructionists, know that Bush's rationale is liberal, loose and wrong.

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At www.capitolhillblue.com

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