At long last, a member of President Bush’s inner circle has publicly “broken up” with him. Matthew Dowd, who was inspired by Bush’s style as Texas governor, switched parties and took a high-ranking post on the Bush-Cheney communications team. Six years later, he’s a Bush supporter no more.
I doubt Dowd’s public defection will be the last. Bush ran for the presidency with a huge tent approach. That tent has shrunk considerably. It has no room for moderates and little room for even traditional Reagan or Eisenhower conservatives. More will follow.
Powell, Richard Armitage, Paul O’Neill all left the administration frustrated and disillusioned, but Dowd is the first member of Bush’s political team to take that route or air his differences so publicly. In his interview with the New York Times, he paints Bush as out of touch and unwilling to entertain any diversity of viewpoints. It’s well worth a read.
Iraq particularly troubles him, as did, I’m glad to report, Bush’s renomination of John Bolton. One particularly interesting tidbit from the interview:
Mr. Dowd, a crucial part of a team that cast Senator John Kerry as a flip-flopper who could not be trusted with national security during wartime, said he had even written but never submitted an op-ed article titled “Kerry Was Right,” arguing that Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate, was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq.
The slow bleed continues.
— Scott Paul