It was aired yesterday on Fox News Sunday, and it was what we might call a “farewell interview” (here is the transcript) with the outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, perhaps something like a moral testament. “We’ve got to be compassionate conservatives,” he said using the same phrase he used during his 2000 campaign.
It’s very important for our party not to narrow its focus, not to become so inward-looking that we drive people away from a philosophy that is compassionate and decent, […]. We should be open-minded about different people’s opinions.
We shouldn't have litmus tests as to whether or not you can be a Republican. And we should be open-minded about big issues like immigration reform, because if we're viewed as anti-somebody — in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant — then another fellow may say, well, if they're against the immigrant, they may be against me. We've got to be a party for a better future, and for hope.
“We’ve got to be open-minded, compassionate conservatives,” that’s what some of the Bush administration’s efforts, such as expanding the federal government’s role in education through the No Child Left Behind Act and proposing an easier path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, were all about. But that’s also what have come under fire right from some of Bush’s fellow Republicans, though evidently of different school of thought.
Was that internal confrontation only a prelude to the “final battle” which could be fought in the months and years ahead within the GOP?