Richard Viguerie, a genuine pillar of the conservative ascendancy in the latter third of the 20th century, has it almost exactly right in his Washington Post column Saturday. My only quibble is that Viguerie ignores an issue, the importance of which he knows all too well: the distortive effects of Big Labor's coercive power. Why I bring it up I will address in a moment.
Sadly, conservatives are just beginning to awaken to a reality that was right before their eyes all along: just how unconservative George W. Bush is. As Viguerie points out, conservatives believed Bush was their guy, in 1999, because they wanted to believe it. They believed it despite little positive evidence to support this hope, and specific evidence, then, to contradict the "conservatism" of George W. Bush.
Well, Mr. Viguerie makes the case excellently, so I won't repeat it all here.
So why do make an issue of Mr. Viguerie's neglect of the compulsory unionism issue? Because he knows well -- he has said it himself often enough, and has first-hand experience -- that the power of the Left rests squarely and securely on the coercive power and privilege granted to union bosses by federal law. The principal coercive privilege is, of course, the power to confiscate union dues from millions of unwilling working Americans: that both gives a rather secure source of funding, as well as very effective leverage over those same "constituents."
Virtually everything that conservatives care about runs aground, or is torpedoed, politically, thanks to the political muscle of Big Labor, which is still substantial (and people who have written the epitaph of Big Labor political muscle are either self-serving or simply too ill-informed to be taken seriously). I could list the issues for you, but there is no need. Name the issue that conservatives have advocated; then, list the politicians who have blocked it. You will hunt long and hard for names on that list who are not also enthusiastic water-carriers for Organized Labor's top echelon.
Alas, too many on the right are either too pusillanimous or too dense to realize the integral connection between compulsory unionism and the frustration of the conservative political agenda. When my friends on the right think that the principal culprits are "Hollywood," the media, trial lawyers, Bill Clinton, or judges, I want to yank out my hair. It would be like General Eisenhower, before the Normandy landing, saying to the troops: "men, the thing that will endanger you are the bullets being fired at you; your goal is to stop the bullets -- focus on the bullets; that's the key thing: the bullets."
Well, yes, of course -- the bullets are deadly, and you need to deal with them if you can. But you do that by going after where the bullets are coming from -- both the fellows just up the beach, or on the bluffs, and the machinery of the Nazi state, military and industrial, that held it all together.
But too many on the right have mistakenly believed they could somehow advance their agenda against the Left, without ever addressing the foundation of the Left's political power. Please note how successful they've been!
So, now, six years later, people are finally discovering what has been "hidden in plain sight": President George W. Bush is not very conservative.