"Conservatives often cheer on the presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt—a progressive if ever there was one—and New Dealers like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. They also defend a leviathan different from that envisioned by the progressive left more as a matter of degree than of kind. On economics, all too many conservatives have embraced the national welfare state, and although they are still more attuned to traditional limits on state power in this arena, they are often worse than the other side when it comes to policing and warfare issues. All in all, both wings of the modern spectrum have been different flavors of the progressive ideology that completely conquered the Republican Party a century ago, and then overtook the Democrats and modern liberalism as well. Many of the features of “conservatism” from the Cold War to George W. Bush—militarism, national statism, welfare statism with paternalistic garb, police statism, anti-immigration sentiment, cozying up to big business while expanding the regulatory state—have clear origins in the progressive presidencies of Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and even Woodrow Wilson. Thus I find the question as to whether Bush was a conservative or a progressive to be a trick question. He was both."
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