(EVERGLADES CITY, FL.) For the past four years, as I've been criss-crossing the country -- and even when traveling abroad in Southeast Asia, North Africa and Europe -- I have run into the same pattern: Conservative, Reagan-style Republicans, many of them serving or former military types, ranting about the Bush Administration and the incalcuable damage done both to the Constitution and to America's reputation in the world.
In all these conversations, these angry screeds just burst out of these conservatives, without any pre-knowledge that the fellow they're talking with is an editor of a progressive, anti-Bush, pro-democracy website.
When they find out my political slant, they seem overjoyed that they've met someone who shares many, though clearly not all, of their anxieties about the wrong direction in which the country is being taken. They need to vent their anger and disappointment big time; they can't do so in front of many of their military superiors and fellow officers. So they're happy to have someone to talk with who listens to their rants and agrees with much of them.
I'm in Florida for my uncle's 85th birthday celebration in a wealthy, white neighborhood in South Florida and one of the extended-family members, an active-duty official in one of the armed forces, volunteers that "the Cheney Administration," as he puts it, has wrecked the standing of America abroad by its obsessive pre-occupation with launching this ill-advised Iraq war and then continuing it long past the point of no-return.
CONSERVATIVE ANGER AT BUSH
This former Reagan staffer opines that if the U.S. had gone into Iraq with "a half-million men, and taken care of business," America would not be trapped in the quagmire it's in today. But he also believes that you can't fight extremist Muslim terrorists mainly in militarily campaigns since "you can never win" that kind of guerrilla war.