KNOWLES: In Case You Forgot, The Bushes Have Never Been Particularly Conservative

Former president George W. Bush wants conservatives to take a softer stance on immigration, and the left-wing media can’t get enough of it. During an interview with Norah O’Donnell that aired on CBS Sunday Morning, Bush called for Republicans “to be more respectful about the immigrant.” The United States takes in more immigrants each year than any other nation. Nearly one in five immigrants on earth ends up here. How much more “respect” can the U.S. display before she ceases to exist as a sovereign nation?

The leftist media lapped up Bush’s entreaty. “Remember this man?” asked CNN’s Fredo Chris Cuomo. “Remember why he believes this?” But the former president’s beliefs come as no surprise to those who remember that the Bushes have never been particularly conservative. The opportunistic media, which deplored Bush while he held office, now points to the former president as the conservative standard-bearer. In fact, the Bush family has represented the liberal wing of the Republican Party since 1952.

Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of future presidents, supported Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League and helped to launch Planned Parenthood, serving as the treasurer for the abortion mill’s first national fundraising campaign in 1947. After his election to the Senate in 1952, he voted to censure the anti-communist crusader Joseph McCarthy in 1954 and regularly associated himself with New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, at that time the face of liberal Republicanism.

Following in his father’s footsteps, George H.W. Bush also supported abortion and Planned Parenthood specifically during the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1970, Bush sponsored the pro-abortion Population Control and Research Act as a means of combatting the fictive scourge of “overpopulation.” He remained supportive of abortion up through his failed presidential bid against Ronald Reagan in 1980, during which he assailed Reagan’s more conservative views and even coined the term “voodoo economics” to describe some of them. Bush adopted more conservative positions after Reagan made him his running mate later that year, but he returned to his more liberal roots after Reagan left office in 1988, at which point the VP-turned-president promised a “kindler, gentler” type of conservatism. The slight did not escape Nancy Reagan, who reportedly asked, “‘Kindler and gentler’ than whom?”

George W. Bush adapted his father’s rhetoric to his own White House bid eight years later, promising “compassionate conservatism” — as opposed, one infers, to the Right’s usual offering of heartlessness and cruelty. Although considerably to the right of his father, Bush tacked left on crucial issues, notably his advocacy of amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens. George’s brother Jeb(!) went even further during his own ill-fated presidential run in 2016, endorsing illegal immigration as “an act of love.”

I do not mean this trip down memory lane as an attack on the Bushes. The Republican Party comprises many disparate groups: traditional conservatives, libertarians, neocons, the Religious Right, and populists, among others. They band together because the various factions cannot harness a sufficient number of votes to win on their own. Sometimes the liberal wing takes the helm, as it did through the candidacies of Mitt Romney, John McCain, and the Bushes; at other times, the conservatives wrestle back influence within the party, as they did to at least some degree in 1980 and 2016. This week, the most famous living representative of the most prominent family in the GOP’s liberal wing criticized the party’s conservatives again. What else is new?

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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