Is the idea of "compassionate conservatism" being kicked to death in the parking lot? First, WorldNetDaily scowled at a TV station that sought help for illegal immigrants who were burned out of their home; now NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein seems to be declaring that real conservatives aren't compassionate.
In a Dec. 10 post, Finkelstein declared: "Those looking for a true conservative to enter the Republican presidential field might be feeling a bit perplexed in the wake of Sam Brownback's performance on this morning's Fox News Sunday." One of Brownback's offenses, according to Finkelstein: he "[s]eemingly described himself as a 'compassionate conservative.'" Finnkelstein added:
It's "troubling" for a conservative to show compassion? That seems to be a repudiation of George W. Bush's presidency, to which he was elected proclaiming himself as a "compassionate conservative." Or is "compassion" permissible only when government money is not involved? Does this mean that conservatives of Finkelstein's ilk are searching for the 2008 candidate who shows the least amount of compassion for his fellow man?
Brownback went on to describe himself as "conservative on economic and fiscal and moral and social and compassionate conservative issues." Conservative on compassionate conservative issues? An enigmatic statement that some might interpret as meaning he is opposed to big-government compassionate conservatism as practiced by Pres. Bush. But, in its context, I read it as saying he identifies as a compassionate conservative, which might come as troubling news to more traditional conservatives.