Joe Scarborough and Peggy Noonan were discussing the rejection of the last eight years of Bush. They suggest that Bush and the Reublicans, instead of operating as the conservatives they promised to be, went more liberal, went left.
I disagree. When purported fiscal conservatives go wrong, when they produce trillions of expenses engaging in neocon fantasies and military adventures, when their deregulation of industry cost hundreds of billions or trillions more, this is not moving to the left or more liberal positions. This is irresponsible, foolish profligacy.
The idea of social conservatism is no longer owned by or embraced by the Republican party. Again, but for other reasons, the grand old party has become the party of right wing religious extremists.
The merriam-webster dictionary defines profligate:
1 : completely given up to dissipation and licentiousness
2 : wildly extravagant
This is where the GOP has been taken by the right wing-- by greedy, irresponsible corporations, economically-- and by the religious right, socially.
To suggest that Bush failed by acting like a liberal economically, or moving to the left is somewhere between misunderstanding, delusion or an outright lie aimed at blaming the innocent.
The failure of the conservative economic approach has not even been effectively attacked by Obama and others on the left.
One of the central elements of the "conservative" message is lower taxes, or conversely, that the other guys will raise taxes. The truth is, the right's antipathy towards government and regulation has cost taxpayers far more in lost home equity and decreased value in their IRA, 401Ks and mutual funds than any tax savings might have brought them. The right offers to save a dime with one hand, while costing the voter ten dollars with the other-- literally ten times a day.
So lets get something straight. The American people are about to repudiate the right and rightwing ideology because they became too extreme and because they lost any discipline, becoming profligate or dissipated to the point of economic licentiousness. The right wing leadership sold its economic soul to corporatists and religious extremist with NO interest in the core ideological values of conservatism.
America really hasn't seen a liberal leadership yet. The current 110th congress was continually stymied by bluedog conservative democrats in the house, where Nancy Pelosi betrayed any liberal ideas she might have ever expressed or given lip-service to. And in the senate, republican senators fillibustered over 90 legislative efforts-- a record leap for any one congress.
No, conservatism did not move left. It was perverted by extremists who were allowed and defended by people like Peggy Noonan and Joe Scarborough, who have convinced themselves that it was not their responsiblity that the Bush administration fell so far from the conservative ideology they think they support. Wrong! It was blind loyalty to profligacy by a majority of the right wing establishment that dragged America down.
Even their support for Sarah Palin is a great example. The fact that what seems to be a majority of the right is now saying that people who reject rightwing extremist and embarassment Sarah Palin have no future in the party, and that there is no pushback, tells us that the crazies are now in charge of the party. It's too bad. Real fiscal conservatism and social conservatism could play a healthy balancing role in the crises America faces. But there is no place for balance that comes from the extreme, profligacy the current right manifests.