Somewhere along the line, Republicans started losing faith in the Bush administration. Recent high-profile policy critics like former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and former terrorism czar Richard Clarke have criticized the administration for mismanagement and shortsighted policy.
What is notable is that neither Bill Clinton nor Bush Sr. were attacked anywhere near as viciously by their own parties when in office. Since becoming president, Bush, “uniter, not a divider” rhetoric notwithstanding, has managed the difficult task of causing schisms in his own party.
Religious conservatives criticize the Patriot Act. Fiscal conservatives are up in arms over tax policies. The Nixon and Reagan administration veterans criticize Bush’s fascination with Iraq.
Despite being committed to their policies, Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Karl Rove have taken to these policies with a zeal that has alienated more moderate members of their party, and damaged Bush’s chances in 2004 to an alarming degree.
All this makes John Kerry one of the luckiest men in the world right now. An election is being handed to him on a silver platter; he stands to collect endorsements from a number of high-profile moderate Republicans; with the right vice-presidential candidate he stands a very real chance to be in the White House. And all because Bush never knew when to stop.