Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

George W. Bush--West Coast Straussian?

With all the ridiculous hoo-haw about the nefarious influence of Straussians in Washington, perhaps it is worth pondering where President Bush, Texan, lines up in the intramural debate.

In a little-noticed line in his West Point speech announcing the new doctrine of pre-emption last June, Bush said "Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place."

More recently Bush told the Coast Guard Academy: "[I]f the self-evident truths of oour founding are true for us, they are true for all. . . American seeks to expand not the borders of our country, but the realm of liberty. . ."

This Lincolnian understanding of America’s principles might be written off as a contrivance of one of those (evial Straussian) speechwriters. But then there was this extemproaneous remark Bush made to Bob Woodward last summer:

"There is a value-system that cannot be compromised—God-given values. These aren’t United States-created values. They are values of freedom and the human condition and mothers loving their children. What’s very important as we articulate foreign policy through our diplomacy and military action, is that we never look like we are creating—we are the author of these values."

To be sure, not exactly as Lincoln or Jefferson would have put it, but certainly better than we have come to expect even from many conservative intellectuals, let alone practicing politicians. Bush gets it.

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