Eight years later, how does George W. Bush define “compassionate conservatism,” the ideology that served him so well as a candidate? In an exit interview with National Review, he called it “the proper use of government to enable a hopeful society to develop based upon your talents and your success.” Bush said compassionate conservatism is a “philosophy that most people adhere to” and predicted that “conservatives will rebound.” He also defended the invasion of Iraq and his failed attempt to reform Social Security, and expressed regret about not having a third Supreme Court appointment to make. All in all, he said, “I’m comfortable that I have made principled decisions for eight years, that I was unwilling to sacrifice those principles for the sake of short-term approbation.”
Meanwhile, on our Opinion page today, columnist Leonard Pitts ruminates on the early drafters of pro-Bush history he says are seeking to “impose a sunnier, more forgiving view on the past eight years than the facts will support.”
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