As you may recall, this was the same strategy the administration employed when Bush disastrously nominated his personal valet Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Miers was utterly unqualified to sit on the high court (as even many administration insiders now admit they knew, as revealed in Jan Crawford Greenberg's outstanding new book Supreme Conflict). After appointing an inferior candidate merely because she was a personal crony of the president's, the administration then went on the offensive against disappointed conservatives (who recognized Bush had broken his promise to appoint another Scalia or Thomas), intimating that opposition to the nomination was based on sexism and elitism.
They again rolled out the tactic when the administration came up with the bright idea of trying to sell American ports to Arabs. When more than a few people questioned the wisdom of selling American ports to those who support our enemies, the Bush administration waved away criticism by implying that such fears were based in "Islamophobia."
Most true conservatives have long since had enough of this nonsense, and Peggy Noonan today gives voice to several years of built-up frustration in a scathing attack:
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.Noonan also talks about her own personal disillusionment with the president, for whom she actively campaigned and whom she vocally supported until his overreaching, messianic inaugural speech in January 2005:
For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.
But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."
What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.That paragraph is as good a summation of the Bush presidency as one will ever find, a presidency that can now be declared from a conservative standpoint, without reservation, a failure.
It will take the conservative movement years to recover from what George W. Bush has done to it. Considering where we were sitting just three years ago in the wake of the 2004 elections, that's nothing short of tragic.
Related Tags: George W. Bush, Peggy Noonan, Harriet Miers, immigration