You know, as conservatives we like to complain about the fact that Bush really isn’t conservative. And he went ahead in his farewell address and mentioned some of those policies that have irked us the most — promoting what his administration did in creating the Homeland Security Department, the No Child Left Behind Act (many conservatives shudder), the Medicare/Medicaid foolishness, the move to practically socialize a lot of industry in recent weeks, the idea that every heart yearns for freedom. That last is not really a conservative principle, and is rather a liberal progressive one. Do conservatives wish it were true? Indeed. But we know it’s not. Some just yearn for food or … honor.
But Bush’s comment on good and evil, and the fact that evil DOES exist was a welcome respite from the swirling madness of moral relativism.
The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course.
While our nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient, and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard.
At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.
As we address these challenges — and others we cannot foresee tonight — America must maiintain our moral clarity.
It’s undeniable that Bush is, above all, true to his conscience, as he said. And that he loves this country, and that his first and foremost effort was to protect it. You do not doubt where Bush stands, or that he is comfortable in his own skin. We may well come to appreciate that, especially in the years to come.