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Unprecedented Access
by Thomas A. Droleskey
March 30, 2001

“Unprecedented access.” That is what a number of nationally known conservative leaders are calling their relationship with the White House of George W. Bush. On March 19 the New York Times reported that staff aides in the White House and Cabinet secretaries have weekly meetings with a variety of conservative leaders, who have recommended many of their associates for subcabinet positions (nominees for which must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate). The administration solicits the conservative leaders’ views on questions of public policy, giving those leaders a heady feeling of influence at the White House. Indeed, some of the leaders report that they have a level of access now with President Bush that they never had with President Reagan. There is only one little problem with all of that, however: their “unprecedented access” has much more to do with the stroking of egos and the satisfying of core constituency groups than with the actual making of public policy.

I remain very critical of President Bush, principally because of his shallow understanding of the life issue and his concomitant failure to do everything within his power to stop the killings at once (such as the immediate cessation of funding for all embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation). But one has to give the new president and his political advisors a great deal of credit. As governor of Texas, Bush demonstrated a capacity for stroking egos to protect his right flank while at the same time working with Democrats in the Texas legislature. In short, Bush is something of a Clinton clone, using the Dick Morris strategy of triangulation to make it appear as though his political base has influence with him when he is actually wheeling and dealing with moderate Republicans and “blue dog” conservative Democrats.

If you recall, Morris, who had an on- again/off-again relationship with Clinton from 1980 to 1996, was brought back in 1995 to advise the president following the Republican capture of both houses of Congress for the first time since the 1952 elections. Morris advised Clinton to talk sweet nothings into the ears of his leftist base, giving them crumbs now and then to keep them happy and make it appear as though he was really sensitive to their hopes and desires. In actuality, though, Clinton successfully outmaneuvered the Republicans, seizing the public-relations high ground on welfare reform and reduction of the deficit and the national debt. Even though Clinton was forced into those positions by the Republicans, Morris was able to portray the president as the architect of welfare reform and the economic boom (which has just come crashing to the ground). Clinton faked left while he moved to the center in order to position himself for the 1996 elections.

Bush did much the same thing when he was governor of Texas. He met quite assiduously with leaders of conservative groups, including the so-called religious right. He supported the passage of a parental-notification bill in the Texas legislature, requiring female minors seeking abortions to notify their parents before they could kill their child, which would give parents an opportunity to dissuade them from participating in the murder of an innocent baby. However, Bush also appointed three fully pro-abortion nominees to the Texas Supreme Court, each of whom voted to strike down the notification bill! He also nominated the notorious Martha Hill Jamieson, a supporter of both Planned Parenthood and the homosexual agenda, to a judicial vacancy in a Houston district court. Thus, while economic conservatives and religious conservatives felt sufficiently stroked by Bush because of his personal interest in them, the Texas governor was merely providing himself the cover to do things that would make him marketable for reelection in 1998 — and position him to run for the presidency in 2000.

The same thing is happening right now with President Bush. It is certainly the case that business leaders are getting a great deal of what they have wanted from the new president. For all the talk about the woefully inadequate tax cut, though, Bush is presiding over an increase of spending by the federal government, including, as I have noted in the past few months, a huge increase for the Department of Education, a bureaucracy that is opposed to the principle of subsidiarity and to the plain language of the U.S. Constitution. (This is yet another illustration of the flawed nature of the Constitution. A written document is meaningless when there is no ultimate arbiter of the meaning of its plain language, leaving such interpretation to judicial autocrats or careerist politicians interested in creating the impression that they are doing something for the people.)

In other words, the Bush administration is going about the business of government pretty much as other Republican administrations have — that is, by emphasizing the importance of money as the foundational principle of public policy and human existence. The only difference between the Bush administration and the previous two Republican administrations is that Bush the younger has learned the lessons that Bush the elder never learned: it is vital to stroke one’s electoral base while faking to the center in order to reach “acceptable” compromises with congressional “moderates.”

In actual point of fact, you see, the conservative leaders whose egos are being stroked so tenderly by Bush staffers do not make policy. The national budget, which is the principal determining factor for the outline of public policy, will emerge as a result of complex and protracted negotiations between the White House and leaders of both political parties in the two houses of Congress. Compromises will be reached that will be difficult for some of the conservative leaders to swallow. However, having developed a close working relationship with those leaders, Bush staffers will be able to immunize themselves against too much criticism by saying that they tried their very best but just had to compromise in the real world of give-and-take politics. The folks accustomed to access in the highest quarters of power in the White House and the Executive Branch will thus push the mute button on themselves out of fear that all of their unprecedented access will be lost, thereby vitiating what they believe to be their influence — which is nothing other than the illusion of influence created by the Bush staffers.

In order to retain their access to the White House, conservative leaders must make all manner of compromises with evil. Each of those leaders is willing to live with the fact that the Bush administration is still dragging its feet on the matter of embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation. Babies are being conceived artificially so they can be killed for the harvesting of their stem cells. Innocent lives could be saved at once by the issuance of an Executive Order to stop the funding of such research and transplantation. Instead, the ever-cautious Bush has decided to order Tommy Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, to create a panel of “experts” to study the matter. What is there to study? Embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation is evil. It is monstrous. Why the delay? And why is Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, so lonely in denouncing the needless delay? Why? Precisely because the so-called leaders of various conservative organizations care more about their access to the White House than they do about taking concrete measures to save innocent human lives at once.

Moreover, the human pesticide, RU-486, continues to be marketed. The United States continues to fund the killing of children abroad by means of abortifacient contraceptives. There remains a needless life-of-the-mother exception in the flawed bill to ban partial-birth abortions when even the American Medical Association has stated that it is never medically necessary to use dilatation and extraction — partial-birth abortion — to save a mother’s life. The leaders of conservative organizations are content to accept all manner of exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life in specific pieces of legislation concerning Medicaid funding of abortions, in line with their general acceptance of such exceptions as matters of principle. And thus far there has been zero criticism of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s suggestion that Judges Ronnie White and Roger Gregory, both of whom are pro-aborts, are qualified to sit on the federal bench. Indeed, there has been no criticism of Ashcroft’s embrace of the ideologically laden concept of “diversity” (which means hiring people on the basis of skin color and ethnicity and “sexual orientation”).

Let’s face it: almost every one of the conservative leaders is willing to accept Roe v. Wade as settled law in order not to rock the boat with the Bush administration. One wonders what they will do if Bush nominates White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales — one of the judges on the Texas Supreme Court who struck down the parental-notification bill — to the U.S. Supreme Court as a means of currying favor with the growing population of Spanish-speaking Americans (who have now eclipsed blacks as the largest minority group in the country). One wonders.

Access to the halls of power can be very intoxicating. It can give a person a feeling of self-importance that blinds the intellect and weakens the will, resulting in muted tongues and spin-doctoring (when the tongues are permitted to be loosed) to promote an administration’s “talking points” on TV’s “talking-head” programs. However, such access can actually be deleterious to the cause of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate when otherwise sensible people accept the Protestant and Masonic premise that a secular, pluralistic, and religiously indifferentist society has to make protecting itself its first priority and raison d’etre rather than stopping the shedding of innocent human blood.

As I have noted on so many occasions, all of it is the fruit of the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry. Protestantism promoted the belief that people who are saved by their mere profession of faith in our Lord can thereby be about the business of the “real world” without regard to any consequences for their immortal soul. Indeed, the Calvinist strain of Protestantism stresses the importance of wealth as one of the leading signs of a person’s predestination for Heaven. Those concepts have been secularized and embraced by Freemasonry, and their influence accounts for the creation of a secular republic dedicated to the promotion of commercialism as the principal purpose of civil government. Sadly, many Catholics have bought into it, including pro-life Catholics who continue to fear the evil more than they love the good, and who think in naturalistic, earthbound terms and actually eschew any public invocation of the Holy Name and all references to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, we should strive to give “unprecedented access” to the social teaching of the Catholic Church — the only sure foundation for the just society. The Church’s social teaching is neither conservative or liberal. It is what it is: an effort to apply the unchanging truths of Truth Himself to the concrete circumstances of man in this fallen, fractured world. Without that teaching, a society flails about in a vain effort to find some mythical “common ground” as the basis of public policy and popular culture. As Pope Leo XIII explained so well in Immortale Dei in 1885, a society so founded degenerates sooner or later into atheism and barbarism.

It will be interesting to watch the degree to which so-called conservative leaders will permit themselves to be used as a screen for the Bush administration. In the meantime, however, the tiny fraction of us who want to give voice to the voiceless and defend the defenseless must be relentless in our prayers before the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God. And we must be unceasing in our efforts to speak the truth about our current situation, no matter how much “access” to high places or friends we lose along the way.

This column is distributed by the Griffin Internet Syndicate.
Copyright © Griffin Communications, 2001. All rights reserved.

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