Peter Berkowitz Hearts Demagogues

Peter Berkowitz visited Princeton and wondered why some folks do not like George W. Bush. His WSJ op-ed strikes me as incoherent:

I told my Princeton audience, in the context of a Bush hatred and a corollary contempt for conservatism so virulent that it had addled the minds of many of our leading progressive intellectuals, Prof. Starr deserved special recognition for keeping his head in his analysis of liberalism and progressivism … As for the 2002 midterm elections, it is true that Mr. Bush took the question of whether to use military force against Iraq to the voters, placing many Democratic candidates that fall in awkward positions. But in a liberal democracy, especially from a progressive point of view, aren’t questions of war and peace proper ones to put to the people – as Democrats did successfully in 2006? And lord knows the Bush administration has blundered in its handling of legal issues that have arisen in the war on terror. But from the common progressive denunciations you would never know that the Bush administration has rejected torture as illegal. And you could easily overlook that in our system of government the executive branch, which has principal responsibility for defending the nation, is in wartime bound to overreach – especially when it confronts on a daily basis intelligence reports that describe terrifying threats – but that when checked by the Supreme Court the Bush administration has, in accordance with the system, promptly complied with the law.

That this Administration is complying with the law and is being checked by the Courts is an absurd statement. He ends with this insult to conservatives:

The conflict between more conservative and more liberal or progressive interpretations of the Constitution is as old as the document itself, and a venerable source of the nation’s strength. It is wonderful for citizens to bring passion to it. Recognizing the common heritage that provides the ground for so many of the disagreements between right and left today will encourage both sides, if not to cherish their opponents, at least to discipline their passions and make them an ally of their reason.

Huh? The only ones who are defending Bush’s abuse of our Constitution and his unchecked moves to neo-McCarthyism are the water carriers such as the folks who write for the National Review. These people are NOT conservatives.