Bush and the Reagan Republicans
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.
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 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....
Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.
Bush likes to think himself as the inheritor of Reagan's mantle. But increasingly Reagan conservatives are saying the equivalent of "I knew Reagan, Mr. President, and you are no Reagan."
Yet another sign that Bush's isolation extends deep into his own party's base.
Meanwhile, White House counselor Dan Bartlett announced he will resign in July, becoming the latest official to depart as the Bush administration limps toward the finish. On the one hand, a slow and steady exodus is natural at the end of a two-term presidency. On the other hand, as discussed earlier, this particular exodus has begun a good six months or so earlier than expected. Isolation and impotence is not much fun.
Update: A new Rasmussen poll finds that the percent of voters identifying themselves as Republicans has fallen to 30.8%, the lowest number since they began asking the question in January 2004. Democrats have also fallen, but not as much: 36.5%. The number of unaffiliated voters has, as a consequence, hit an all-time high: 32.4%.
Update 2: Another conservative, Rod Dreher, weighs in in agreement, while pointing out that conservatives have only themselves to blame.
So yes, by all means let's turn our backs on this failed presidency, and save what we can, while we can. But let's not kid ourselves: Bush has failed conservatives, yes, but we have also failed ourselves. It doesn't take much courage to stand up for conservative principle to a president as weak as this one has become. It would have taken real courage to stand up for conservative principle in 2002, 2003, 2004, even early 2005. How many did? I know I didn't.
(h/t: Central Sanity)
Bartlett, Noonan, politics, midtopia
Labels: general politics