Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Fracturing of Republican Support for Bush's War

We look forward to Bill Kristol's visit with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show tonight. He's a bright guy, a realist about this president, even though he's also a neoconservative hawk (redundant?) who has beat the drum for the U.S. to really "get tough" with the Arabs, maybe especially Saudi Arabia (about whom George W. has heretofore been a limp noodle).

Kristol is quoted in today's New York Times talking about the fracturing of Bush's support since the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal broke. He describes the different divergent groups this way: "There are [the] unapologetic hawks," a category he puts himself in; "we are critical of the president for failures of execution but still think it is winnable. There are loyalists, who stick to the Republican talking point that it is going well. There are supporters of the war who now have second thoughts, and there is a category of conservatives who are saying 'be tough, but then get out.' "

The Times story goes on to detail some of the other influential Republican voices that have begun to be heard doubting this president's execution of this war: "It was a measure of the troubles Mr. Bush is running into within his own party that Senator Pete V. Domenici, a New Mexico Republican who usually sides with the administration, expressed his frustration to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday that he could find no clear vision in the administration's Iraq strategy .... The unease among conservatives has also been given voice in recent days by a number of influential commentators. George F. Will wrote in The Washington Post on Tuesday of a series of 'failures' by the administration for which no one was held accountable, including post-war planning that was 'botched.' On Monday, the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak wrote that there was a clear consensus among Republicans in Congress, Republican fund-raisers, contributors and others he had canvassed that Mr. Rumsfeld had to resign."

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