Rod Dreher, Captain Crunchy, has been musing on Peggy Noonan’s break with Bush:
I’ve got no strong objection to Noonan’s analysis, and indeed I’m thrilled to see it. But it seems to me that we conservatives need to avoid falling into a historical revisionism that allows us to portray ourselves as passive victims of a feckless president. Not saying she does this, but I think as the last wheel comes off this presidency, and the GOP comes to grips with what this presidency has meant for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, there will be a strong temptation to resist owning up to our own complicity.
Just to clarify my own position, I disagree with the President on illegal immigration but I can’t honestly say that he “betrayed” me. Most of the stuff the base is mad about are things he openly championed in the 2000 race. He ran the most pro-Mexican, pro-federalization-of-education, pro-prescription-drugs-for-seniors campaign of any Republican Presidential candidate ever. The convention in Philadelphia was a non-stop riot of mariachi bands playing the Cucaracha alternating with cucaracha bands playing the Mariachi. I bumped into my own Senator, Bob Smith of New Hampshire, in downtown Philly and asked him how he was enjoying it. He said he’d tried to get in but he’d been denied entry. That’s how multicultural and diversity-celebrating it was: guys with suspicious names like “Bob Smith” couldn’t even get past security.
President Bush has, broadly speaking, governed as he said he would seven years ago. Unfortunately, a big bunch of sophisticated types in the Republican base told themselves, “Hey, don’t worry. This ‘compassionate conservative’ mumbo-jumbo is just a cunning feint to sucker the media and the swing voters.” Au contraire, he meant it.
There’s a lesson there for Republicans.
On the other hand, I had to go to a toy store today to get something for my kid. Next to the cash register were “Impeachmints” bearing Bush’s visage and “Axis of Evil” finger puppets of Bush, Cheney and Rice. I parked next to a guy with an “American Terrorist” bumper sticker showing guess-who. As I said a year or two back, it requires a kind of perverse genius to get damned as a right-wing madman when 90% of the time you’re Tony Blair with a ranch.