Get a load of this:
Who's a real conservative? It's all relative.That last sentence should have been enough to convince Milbank that Mr. Ebell was right. After all, it was those "leading Republicans" (Milbank lists Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, Howard Baker, Bob Michel and a host of other middle-of-the-road Republicans who went along with their Democrat buddies in Washington to get us into the mess we face today) who got us into the mess we're up to our eyeballs in today.
A couple of weeks ago, in a column about how conservatives are cannibalizing the likes of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Bob Bennett of Utah, I had the nerve to describe Murkowski, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, as a "faithful conservative."
"Dear Mr. Milbank," began an e-mail from Myron Ebell, a climate-change skeptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "Your column today would be more convincing if its broad assertions had some connection to facts."
This was evidently not a fan letter. "You call Senator Murkowski 'a faithful conservative.' You must be thinking of her father. By most measures, she is the most liberal . . . Republican Senator west of Maine and considerably to the left of most of her constituents. I suggest you check her American Conservative Union ratings over the past few years."
I took Ebell up on his challenge. What I found was astonishing -- although not in the way he had supposed. Comparing the ACU ratings of Murkowski and Bennett with those of other Republicans in the House and Senate going back to 1971 (the first year in the ACU online ratings archive), I discovered that if conservatives were to employ the purity standards they applied to Murkowski and Bennett, they would have rejected many, if not most, of the leading Republican lawmakers of the past 40 years. [link] [emphasis mine]
Of all the names mentioned (George W. Bush would have made the list for sure had he ever been a member of Congress), not one would be considered by any knowing conservative today to have ever been a conservative. Every one of them went along (with lots of talk about dismay and frustration) with the largest growth in government this country has ever experienced. They went along. They got along. And America is bankrupt and in decline.
Is Dana Milbank too stupid to know the difference between the words "Republican" and "conservative"?
But we're not.
That's why Murkowski has been driven out. And Bob Bennett is in retirement.
The United States of America teeters on the brink of disaster. And they helped push it to the edge.
If Mr. Milbank ever left the insular confines of Washington, he'd realize that.
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He also lists our own Senator John Warner. Anyone with half a brain and who paid attention knew Warner to be as liberal (except when it came to the military) as any Republican ever was in Washington.