Saturday, August 19, 2006

Increasingly, Conservatives Question Bush's Competence and Vision

It's been clear for some time that moderates and liberals are not alone when it comes to criticizing President Bush. Conservatives are increasingly dissatisfied with the course that Bush is taking though some are calling for more military action, while others are calling Iraq a failure that requires either disentangling ourselves from Iraq or that requires new ideas and new leadership to clean up the mess. Peter Baker of The Washington Post has an article on conservative pundits who are growing increasingly critical:
These have been tough days politically for President Bush, what with his popularity numbers mired in the 30s and Republican candidates distancing themselves as elections near. He can no longer even rely as much on once-friendly voices in the conservative media to stand by his side, as some columnists and television commentators lose faith in his leadership and lose heart in the war in Iraq.

While most conservative media figures have not abandoned Bush, influential opinion-makers increasingly have raised questions, expressed doubts or attacked the president outright, particularly on foreign policy, on which he has long enjoyed their strongest support. In some cases, they have complained that Bush has drifted away from their shared principles; in other cases, they think it is the implementation that has fallen short. In most instances, Iraq figures prominently.

"Conservatives for a long time were in protective mode, wanting to emphasize the progress in Iraq to contrast what they felt was an unfair attack on the war by the Democrats and media and other sources," Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, said in an interview. "But there's more of a sense now that things are on a downward trajectory, and more of a willingness to acknowledge it and pressure the administration to react to it."

Among conservative voices growing critical of Bush are Joe Scarborough, Rich Lowry, Quin Hillyer, George Will and William F. Buckley. There are more, and the numbers are growing. It should be noted again that military analysts and generals are increasingly questioning Bush either directly or indirectly (such as calling for Rumsfeld's resignation). Bush, of course, still has his conservative supporters but among those who can think for themselves there is a growing shift and a growing recognition that our nation has a leadership problem.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

It would've been really, really swell if these "influential opinion-makers" had "increasingly raised questions, expressed doubts or attacked the president outright, particularly on foreign policy" back in 2004, when he was seeking to renew his contract as the nation's No. 1 Decider.

Instead, they played their part in the right-wing noise machine's nationwide echo chamber, dutifully disseminating and expanding on GOP talking points, spinning and demagoging nonstop all year long.

For one thing, about 1,000 more American military members might be alive to appreciate their putting country before partisanship and financial self-interest.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

S.W., you're right, of course. The evidence was abundantly clear by the spring of 2004 that President Bush did not have a plan, did not have a clue and did not have the capacity to rapidly adjust to the facts on the ground. Traditional conservatives pride themselves on being able to look at the hard cold facts but at that time they failed when it came to Bush.

5:30 PM  

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