That stampeding sound you heard last night at the Republican National Convention? That was the sound of conservatives running away from their own record.

Says John McCain:

“Change is coming! Change is coming! Change is coming!”

“We need to change the way government does almost everything.”

Says Sarah Palin:

John McCain and I are ready to shake up Washington, ready to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.

Right. But as Peter Baker adroitly observes, it’s pretty tough to claim to be the agent of change when your party has been in power for the past eight years.

Actually, Digby predicted this some time ago: That Republicans would begin claiming that Bush failed because he wasn’t a “true conservative.” But the stark reality is that – Bush’s timid and eventually short-lived resistance of the GOP’s nativist elements on immigration notwitshstanding – every single policy enacted under the Bush administration was done with not merely the full blessing but the adamant support of movement conservatives.


No doubt about it – John McCain and Sarah Palin would govern differently than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They might even govern more competently.

But at the end of the day, their governance will be conservative governance.

We’ve just had nearly eight years of that. And here’s what we’ve gotten:

  • Foreign-policy debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • A nation less secure and at greater risk of terrorist attacks than ever.
  • A sinking economy.
  • An expanding gap between rich and poor.
  • Utter inaction on global warming.
  • $5-a-gallon gasoline.
  • An unresolved immigration problem.
  • A debacle in public-school education testing and funding.
  • Declining food and consumer-product safety standards.
  • A government that spies on its own citizens.
  • A government that tortures prisoners held in their detention facilities.

These messes weren’t the result of George W. Bush being too liberal and straying too far from the movement-conservative party line. To the contrary – they’re the direct result of him toeing that line to the millimeter. They are all the direct product of conservative governance.

That will not change if John McCain and Sarah Palin gain the White House. And no matter how much they want us to forget that, well, we can’t. And we won’t.