Because Bush demanded it, too many conservatives went along with No Child Left Behind, Medicare funding of prescription drugs and the largest increases in social spending since LBJ. And what did their capitulation to Big Government Conservatism do for them, except earn them the contempt of the base, which they manifestly deserved?
Thinking is hard work, said Mark Twain -- that is why so few engage in it.
For too long, conservatives have not been thinking, but living on the inherited intellectual capital of the past. They have failed to see that the world has changed since Reagan's time and we must change with it.
The truth is the prospective Republican nominee is frozen in the past. Though an invasion of his nation is taking place on the border of his own state, John McCain is still reciting Emma Lazarus on the Golden Door. Though China manipulated its currency to seize our markets and loot our industry, and the European Union imposes value-added taxes -- tariff equivalents -- on U.S. imports, McCain is still babbling on about Smoot-Hawley.
Though the Cold War has been over for a generation, McCain has become more bellicose. He warns us new wars are coming, demands the ouster of Vladimir Putin from the G-8 and threatens Iran. If there is a single tripwire for war laid down in the time of Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles that John McCain thinks we should pull up, or a single alliance he has urged us to review, this writer has not heard of it.
With the president at 30 percent and the party about to lose seats in both houses of Congress, conservatives should not be closing ranks but demanding to know why.
Huckabee has a chance to do himself a world of good by piling up votes and delegates and making himself a conservative alternative to McCain. But he also has a chance to serve his party and country, by putting on the table the issues neither party is addressing.
Are we as overextended strategically and militarily as we surely are financially and fiscally? Should we stick with free trade if our rivals are rabid economic nationalists? If we let 12 million to 20 million illegals stay, how do we stop the next 12 million to 20 million from coming in?
For his party's and his country's sake, as well as his own, Mike Huckabee should keep the conversation going. Because right now, his party is looking at Hillary, Obama -- or Bush's third term.