Now, as they survey the wreckage of their cause, conservatives may ask themselves: “Well, how did we get here?” They may tell themselves: “This is not my beautiful Right.” They may ask themselves: “My God, what have we done?”
But their movement is the same as it ever was. And Mr. Bush is movement conservatism’s true, loyal heir.
Backpedaling conservatives--in whose eyes their glorious movement can never fail; it can only be betrayed--have been working to distance themselves from Bush since shortly before the 2006 election. As if his administration's failures were a once in a lifetime fluke.
Don't you believe it, says Krugman.
So conservatives are now insisting that Bush's habit of ________ is a departure from "true conservatism?" (You can fill in the blank with whatever you want: Cutting taxes in wartime? Fiscal irresponsibility? Outsourcing without oversight? Governmental impotence in the face of crises like Katrina? Secret government policies in defiance of federal law? Hostility to minorities? Press intimidation and harassment? Authoritarianism and contempt for the rule of law?)
Forget it--Krugman reviews the ample and quite public evidence that these are not bugs of the latest release of conservatism, they're features built in since version 1.0. The movement conservatives' problem is--and has always been, although it didn't have a chance to become so glaringly apparent until they took power--that their ideas are unpopular and don't work. No wonder they need wholesale voter suppression, domestic surveillance, and suspension of habeas corpus to keep the wheels from coming off.
Krugman's piece is going on the Readings list in the sidebar.