Speed the Smear
Matthew Dowd, formerly of the Bush inner circle turns on Bush.
Hmmmm. What should be our line of attack?
Dan Bartlett on Face The Nation this morning:
BARTLETT: Well, Matthew is a close friend of mine. I think heâ€™s been on a long personal journey over the last couple of years, both in his private life, as well as his â€” the politics that he participate in. This war is a complicated and difficult one, and it brings out emotions in people from both sides of the aisle, even those who work closely for the president, and the president respects his position. Obviously, we disagree with him as far as him being too insular or him bringing the troops home.
SCHIEFFER: Are you suggesting heâ€™s having some kind of personal problems and this is just what has resulted?
BARTLETT: No, as he expressed in the paper that he himself has acknowledged that heâ€™s going through a lot of personal turmoil but also he has a son who is soon to be deployed to Iraq. That could only impact a parentsâ€™ mind as they think through these issues. I say that only in the sense that I know itâ€™s something that weighs heavily on him.
Special Ed, bright and early this morning:
I have met Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief electoral strategist, on two occasions. The first time we met came at the Republican National Convention, when he briefed the bloggers on the first day, talking about campaign strategies and how the GOP would eventually prevail over John Kerry. After that, we met briefly during the Alito hearings, when the Senate Republican Caucus invited bloggers to cover that from within the Hart building. He has always struck me as a straight shooter and a reasonable man, someone whose loyalty to the Bush administration rested on rational rather than emotional bases.
The man whom I believed so rational turns out to have run on emotion. He talks about how he “fell in love” and then got disappointed when Bush as President didn’t meet his emotional needs. A large part of his dissatisfaction came from the Iraq War, which he had no trouble backing until his son went off to it, and from Bush’s refusal to see Cindy Sheehan, even though Bush met with her once before and she had used that to start a tour of radical-left speeches around the country. Dowd also felt betrayed because Bush had not acted like the uniter he was when he governed in Texas.
As much as I like Dowd, and he is a very likable man in person … boo hoo. I can’t believe this Dowd is a grown-up. I think there are plenty of issues on which one can disagree with the Bush administration, but don’t blame the Bush administration for sticking to policies that one has spent most of his term supporting. Bush hasn’t changed direction during his terms in office, and as close as Dowd was to Bush, it’s not like he didn’t understand who Bush is.
Dowd engages in one long, petulant rant, consumed by his disappointment at Bush’s failure to change when Dowd changed. I’m sorry for Dowd’s disappointment, but this says much more about Dowd’s emotionalism than it does about the Bush administration.