As the 2006 election season comes to a close, we're starting to see additional criticism of Bush by his traditional supporters.
Since the 2004 election, we've seen his support erode among the military, among some conservatives and even among his journalistsupporters. I have long argued that this eroding support is at least partially the result of election politics. Prior to 2004, conservatives kept their criticisms to themselves, fearing their criticism would result in a Democratic president. Now that criticizing Bush is less likely to affect a future presidential race, conservatives have felt freer to air their grievances.
I believe the same dynamic is playing out as the 2006 election season comes to a close. Now that it is pretty much too late for anything they say to affect Tuesday's outcome very much, we are seeing the first of the next wave of Bush criticism from his traditional supporters.
CNN is breaking the story about an article being prepared for the January edition of Vanity Fair which quotes a number of previous Bush supporters. Richard Perle "now says dysfunction within the Bush administration has turned U.S. policy [in Iraq] into a disaster". Kenneth Adelman states that Bush's national security team "turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
In a related story, the Army Times will repeat its call for Donald Rumsfeld to resign. "'Basically, the editorial says, it's clear now, from some of the public statements that military leaders are making, that he's lost the support and respect of the military leadership,' said Robert Hodierne, senior managing editor for the publications' parent company Army Times Publications."
This will only get worse for Bush. Even Republican presidential aspirants in 2008 will be trying to distance themselves from Bush's failures.