It's to be expected once a president becomes a lame duck, but this duck does seem lamer than most. Anyway, we're seeing Republicans and conservatives desert the Good Ship Bush in dorves -- although not yet to a great extent on the Iraq war. Peggy Noonan of the WSJ last week opined that "What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the WHite House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future."
This is a woman, remember, who took a leave of absence from the Journal so she could help the Bush campaign in 2004. Now she says: "The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out of their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place." Bush senior and junior both, she thinks, "are great wasters of political inheritance."
Noonan is far from alone in disdaining the Bushies who disdain her and her kind. Here's a link to Jeffrey Goldberg's piece in the New Yorker that has created a bit of buzz. He interviews Karl Rove, who remains upbeat and opines that"it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible to dismiss ... the doctrine of preemption. In the future, the country is not going to let the dangers fully materialize, and we're not going to allow ourselves to be attacked before we dop anything about it" -- as if Saddam Hussein was ever likely to attack the U.S., give me a break. I hope Rove's prophecy here is as poor as his prophecy that Bush was going to create a permanent Republican majority instead of torpedoing the party with his foolish war.
All the other GOPers he interviews, however, are less upbeat. Former Oklahoma Rep. Mickey Edwards, says "This administration is beyond the pale in terms of arrogance and incompetence." Newt Gingrich says the Bush presidency has become a Republican version of the Carter presidency and says the party hasn't been in such desperate shape since Watergate. The only way the GOP can win in 2008, he says, is for the candidate to run against Bush, much as Sarkozy in France ran against a sitting president of his own party. Richard Viguerie has written a book called "Conservatives Betrayed." Jeff Flake, a four-term GOP congressman from Arizona, says "our leaders have not stuck the the principles they say they follow," and he's not sure the Republican Party has bottomed out yet.
Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.