Following the dramatic defection of Matthew Dowd from the Koolaid Kamp of Bush's closest inner-circle of supporters which I diaried about yesterday, U.S. News and World Report has a story that this just might be the beginning of a far more extensive mass exodus of the Bush faithful among Congressional Republicans.
Dowd's defection is causing Republican insiders to wonder whether this is the start of a larger rebellion against Bush by his former supporters. GOP insiders say this could easily happen among GOP members of Congress on the most important issue of the day: Iraq. If Bush's current buildup of combat troops fails to demonstrate strong progress by late summer, it's very possible that Republicans in the Senate and House will give up on the war effort and join Democrats in voting for a timetable for withdrawal.
Is this just wishful thinking and what does it mean for Bush's Veto threats?
He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a "my way or the highway" mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.
These are claims that have been echoed by Paul O'Neill, Bush's first term Treasury Secretary and others as Ron Suskind reported back in 2004.
"Just in the past few months," [Bruce Bartlett ormer policy advisor for Ronald Reagan] said, "I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do."
The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility - a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains - is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House.
This tracks quite well with what has been stated by Dowd.
"I really like him, which is probably why I'm so disappointed in things," he said. He added, "I think he's become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in."
Despite the well organized attempted Swiftboating of Dowd by Dan Bartlett, those who know Bush, I mean know Bush well have clearly seen his intractable side up close. Thus far, many of them have simply been engaging in an elaborate self-delusion about just how out of touch and clueless this President has been to the actual needs of the country and more importantly the needs of the troops.
He's so blind to this he's even ordered that wounded soldiers back into the fight. From Crooks and Liars.
The flag-waving chickenhawks can dish out all the propaganda they want, but let's face it - George Bush is gutting our military, hurting our soldiers and putting our country at risk. This is some scary stuff, folks. Our military is stretched so thin they're forced to send wounded soldiers back into battle, extend their tours of duty and have no choice but to once again cut short their leave time.
Today the President again renewed his threats to Veto the emergency defense appropriations bill passed recently by House and Senate which includes timelines and a pull-out plan for the bulk of U.S. troops claiming that...
This morning at his Rose Garden press conference, President Bush highlighted this new gambit, saying it has been 57 days since he sent Congress his funding request. If Congress fails to act soon, Bush said, "the price of that failure will be paid by our troops and their loved ones."
This despite the fact that previous supplemental defense bills have taken 86 Days in 2005 and 105 days in 2006 to be approved by Congress. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans have pledged to support the president's Veto.
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