In Politics Power Has Replaced Principles

St. Louis Journalism Review, December 2000 | Go to article overview

In Politics Power Has Replaced Principles


Ed Bishop

No matter what your political leanings are, you have to feel sorry for conservative Republicans. In the last six months, they've taken some tremendous hits to their core philosophy from, of all people, their core advocates.

It all started last summer when George Will, the bow-tied conservative commentator, threw over his long-held beliefs in unregulated capitalism and became a socialist.

In a series of articles in Newsweek, Will more or less said that it was okay to be a conservative in the abstract, but when it came to things that are really important, in his case baseball, socialism was the correct solution. Will wrote that Major League Baseball should restructure itself so that the bigger, richer franchises share their revenues with smaller, poorer franchises. He didn't go so far as to quote Karl Marx: "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs." But he came close.

Then, during the presidential debates, Gov. George W. Bush sided with the likes of Betty Friedan, Patricia Ireland, Gloria Steinem, et al. Those women had applauded the FDA's decision to allow the sale of the abortion pill RU486, and they further said that once the FDA had made its decision there was no turning back.

When Bush was asked directly about the FDA decision during the debates, he too said it was a done deal, and there was nothing a president could do to change the FDA's mind. Conservatives, of course, can take some comfort from the idea that he was probably lying. They can easily believe that Bush would try to reverse the decision.

But conservatives can't take any comfort from the recent actions of former Secretary of State James Baker.

In the Florida election debacle, the conservative bully Baker has allied himself with Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Lawrence Tribe, all of whom believed states' rights are just a smoke screen for chicanery and a legally weak argument in the face of federal law. Baker asked the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the ability of the Florida Supreme Court to interprete that state's election laws.

Next thing you know, Strom Thurmond will call for the removal of the Confederate flags from state government buildings.

This blurring of political positions has been going on for some time now. …

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