Principalities & Powersnby Samuel Francisn1 wo years after George Bush movedndowntown to the White House, thensuspicion is beginning to twinkle in thenbrains of his conservative followers thatnthe President is not one of them afternall. What tipped them off to this shatteringntruth was their leader’s nonchalantndecision last summer to support a taxnincrease. But for some months previouslynthey had had ample warnings thatnthe Duke of Kennebunkport was not innfact the Gipperite they had concoctednin their heads.nThe same week Mr. Bush broke hisnpledge not to raise taxes, he was winingnand dining Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Mandelanof the African National Gongress.nMr. Mandela, sometime fellow of thenpenal colony on Robben Island, is mostnnoted for a brutally conceived but incompetentlynexecuted plot to wage people’snwar against white South Africansnin the 1960’s. His consort, the incomparablenWinnie, has more recently acquirednfame in her own right as annapostle of “necklacing” as well as thenobject of an official investigation intonthe torture and murder of a young mannin her household. Given the lies andnpropaganda that have enveloped thenMandela family since Nelson’s emancipationnlast February, it is perhaps understandablenthat the President had to meetnwith him. But that he and Mrs. Bushngreeted the gruesome twosome so gladlynought to have suggested somethingnabout the first family even more stronglynthan the President’s new fiscal policy.nIndeed, the whole substance of thenBush era is suggestive in a way thatnought not to please the right. You canntell a good deal about politicians fromnthe social gatherings they attend and thensymbols they play with. Last spring Mr.nBush invited to the White House representativesnof the “gay community” tonobserve the presidential signing of whatnis now known as the “Hate GrimesnAct.” That too ought to have dropped anhint to social conservatives that thenPresident and his closest advisers don’tnexperience the kind of abdominalnheaves that normal people, not to mentionnreal conservatives, invariably feelnwhen they contemplate the subject ofnsodomy. But though there was somen10/CHRONICLESnmuted grumbling about the incident,nmost right-wingers were silent.nThen, perhaps most substantively,nthere is the actual legislative record.nThe first two years of the Bush administrationnhave witnessed an expansion ofnfederal power on a scale probably notnseen since the Great Society legislationnof 1965. Not only the “Hate GrimesnAct” itself, which requires the federalngovernment to keep records of criminalnassaults against ethnic and sexual “minorities”—nfor the ultimate purpose ofnshowing that American society is pathologicallynhostile to such groups and thatnmajor therapeutic programs are needednto extirpate its sickness—but also half andozen other noisome statutes havensailed through Gongress this year withnnot much more than a whimper ofnopposition from Mr. Bush.nThe Ghild Gare Bill, the DisabilitiesnAct, the Glean Air Act, and the Kennedy-HawkinsnGivil Rights Act of 1990nall promise to embark the country onnthe shoreless seas of utopianism. Unlikenmost of the social and economic legislationnof Lyndon Johnson’s era, thesenlaws threaten not merely to cost taxpayersnmore money, restrict freedom, andnfatten the bureaucratic herds, but also tonmanage, manipulate, and generally reconstructnthe cultural norms of Americannsociety. As enacted, some of themnmay seem a bit toothless, but the pointnis that almost all of them stick their toesnin a door that the federal governmentnhad not until recently been able to forcenopen. The common assumption ofnmost of them is that there is somethingnprofoundly wrong with some of thencharacteristic norms of American life,nthat these norms are and ever have beennracist, brutalizing, and unfair towardnmore or less supposedly helpless ornvictim categories of citizens — the handicapped,nthe young, the deviant, thennonwhite, and the simple souls whonwant merely to breathe pure oxygennand drink clear water—and that it is thenduty of the state to cure mainstreamnAmerica of its spiritual and behavioralnafRiction of being mean to such groups.nYet what is surprising about theirnpassage through Gongress is not onlynthe generally tepid resistance from thenBush White House but also the equallynspineless response they received evennfrom congressional conservatives.nnnUtah’s Senator Orrin Hatch actuallynhelped cosponsor (with Senator TednKennedy) the Hate Grimes Bill — “Infeel very deeply about people’s heartachesnand problems, and I don’t carenwhat their sexual preferences are,” Mr.nHatch told the New York Times.n”That’s their business and I’m notngoing to judge them by my standardsnor what I think is right.”nThe Glean Air Act, strenuously opposednby the journalistic myrmidonsnof the right, nevertheless gallopednthrough the Senate with only six Republicannnays. While Senator JessenHelms, Idaho’s Steve Symms andnJames McGlure, Oklahoma’s DonnNickles, Wyoming’s Malcolm Wallop,nand Mr. Hatch’s colleague from Utah,nJake Garn, voted against it, other torynstalwarts clambered on board, includingnMr. Hatch himself, Texas SenatornPhil Gramm, known for his freenmarketism, and retiring solons WilliamnArmstrong of Golorado and GordonnHumphrey of New Hampshire, whoncan have no reason to fear the orchestratednvotes of the earth-shoe lobby.nOf course, most of these gentlemen,nincluding the President, have sought tonredeem their conservative souls bynstrapping themselves to the pole of thenflag amendment, thundering for morencapital punishment, denouncing drugs,nand polishing up periodic declamationsnon the greatness of America and thensanctity of the family. So far that hasnsucceeded in persuading their constituentsnto keep them in oflBce, but hownmuch longer it will work is unknown.nIn any case, such issues are thin substitutesnfor the meatier dishes that thenseemingly immortal left keeps servingnup. To be fair to Mr. Bush, why shouldnhe call for stronger wine when thenguests at his own table sip only Perrier?nIn the last few years, much has beennwritten (a bit of it by me) about thenintellectual derailment of the Americannright and the transformation of itsnmind into a body of notions indistinguishablenfrom New Deal-Great Societynliberalism. A foreign policy thatndotes on “global democracy” rathernthan the national interest as the definingnobject of the State’s affairs, a domesticnpolicy that celebrates thencharms of the underclass and pondersnhow to improve its condition evenn