Praise for Jesse Helms or an Insult to Conservatives?

Over at the National Review – Mark Levin declares that the late Jesse Helms championed the causes of abused minorities. More praise came from President Bush:

“Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called the Miracle of America.”

If I were a conservative, I would likely agree with Andrew Sullivan:

There was nothing decent about the policy record of Jesse Helms.

Matthew Yglesias sums up my thoughts:

One fascinating thing about the death of Jesse Helms is the conservative reaction. One might expect that Helms’ death would prompt from conservatives the sorts of things that I might say if, say, Al Sharpton died — that he and I had some overlapping beliefs and I don’t regard him as the world-historical villain that the right does, but that he’s a problematic guy and I regard him and his methods as pretty marginal to American liberalism. But instead conservatives are taking a line that I might have regarded as an unfair smear just a week ago, and saying that Helms is a brilliant exemplar of the American conservative movement. And if that’s what the Heritage Foundation and National Review and the other key pillars of American conservatism want me to believe, then I’m happy to believe it. But it reflects just absolutely horribly on them and their movement that this is how they want to be seen — as best exemplified by bigotry, lunatic notions about foreign policy, and tobacco subsidies.

If I were a conservative – I’d also be embarrassed by the serial nonsense published by the Heritage Foundation and National Review.