The Bakery links to BullMooseBlog, which asserts the American Right now apes all that it hates about liberalism–that is, the excessive power-hungry, process-sidestepping use of federal powers to institute a policy of righteousness. BMB says that with Congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case and with Bush prepared to wake in the middle of the night to sign a hastily constructed, single-person law, the “era of big government conservativism is in full swing.”
At its heart, conservatism had reverence for process and order. But what we are witnessing now is the triumph of ends over means. That is exactly what the right loathed about the left. In the eye of conservatives, the left would stretch the Constitution and the law to serve its so-called noble ends. Liberals would turn to the federal courts to nullify the judgments of localities. In the end, according to the right, the law of unintended consequences would prevail and the rule of law would be obliterated.
Process no longer matters to the right – after all they are on the side of the angels. Whether it is pork barrel spending , the Senate filibuster or federal intervention in a family dispute, modern conservatism knows no boundaries. The right is now intoxicated with power – process is for wimps.
When it comes to federal intervention on behalf of the disadvantaged, the conservative response is to leave it to the states and the “mediating institutions” of community and locality. However, when it involves pandering to the religious right, federal power in the pursuit of righteous aims is no vice.
He’s got some very good points there. It’s hard to argue that conservative lawmakers aren’t working out of the hands of the Religious Right. And though my knowledge of constitutional law isn’t close to anything resembling competence, I do understand that what now passes for constitutional power limiting federal government is simply being bypassed via creative interpretation of the Constitution itself–exactly what conservatives have accused liberal judges of doing.
With the RNC concerned that the 2006 midterm elections could prove to be a day of spoils for Democrats, this shoring up of the defenses by appealing to the very core supporters isn’t just the purview of a single party. However, this has a particularly odious stench, because it is exactly what liberals constantly (and before 2001, usually baselessly) accused conservatives of doing.
I am in favour of keeping Schiavo alive, but the means by which the GOP has taken her case and made it a banner issue are appalling. Using Schiavo as a brace against a perceived secularism to “rally the troops” and impose federal mandate where there should be none is quite simply a case of the conservative movement overstepping its bounds. Methinks “compassionate Conservativism” does not, and should not condone federal hands groping and grasping further into the blouse of constitutional restrictions on federal powers.