And let's face it — I also don't want to give aid and comfort to the Democrats or our enemies overseas. But as SuperG has called upon us to put aside "partisan daggers" and then listed a series of concerns that I have as well, well, I'm ready to put aside name-calling and hostility for a while and see if things improve.
Anyway, here's what Peggy says:
The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.
What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.
One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose his party the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.
Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.
Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.
Amen. We conservatives have some work to do. And there is common ground with Democrats. Not on abortion, of course. But perhaps on energy policy.
But as SuperG has also said, there seems to be a dearth of leadership in both parties ... but considering how we treat our leaders, can we blame sane, sensible people from avoiding politics? (This is not to say that sane, sensible people aren't in politics, we just may have lost some bench strength.)
UPDATE: The funny thing is, the conservative movement is a proven political winner. We just have been sold out three times by Bushies. But they won by presenting themselves as conservatives. Can we get our shit together in time for 2008? That's only one problem, but we have another one: And that's demographics. By about 2012 or so, the United States will tip demographically to the Democrats pretty much for the rest of our lives. Think of it as an eternal 70s ... forever and ever. I may move to Mexico. It should be empty by then.