By Bruce S. Ticker Now even his own compatriots are telling George W. Bush that he has screwed up. Archconservatives warn that the deficit could ruin us, Republicans in state legislatures are rebelling against his education policy and the CIA is warning of a possible civil war in Iraq where our so-called allies have been making threats of future trouble. On these three crucial issues, many of us have been warning of these prospects during the last three years: When you keep cutting taxes so sharply for the rich and hiking expenses for a war and your pet faith-based ideas, we're going to have an impossible deficit. Standardized school tests are only one indication of student progress and too much of it detracts from quality-teaching time. And a civil war in Iraq should be no surprise considering the conflicting forces at work there. Only now it is Bush's fellow Republicans and administration people who are telling him this. Whether intended or not, they are doing him a favor. If he does something about it now instead of next October, maybe he will not be vulnerable on these issues on Nov. 2 (the date of the general election). On Thursday, The New York Times front-paged a story headlined, "Conservative Republicans Push For Slowdown in U.S. Spending." In the most recent development, 40 GOP House members met to discuss pressing Bush and Congress to deal with spending increases and a deficit expected to reach a half-trillion dollars this fiscal year. Beforehand, archconservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth sounded such warnings. Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst for the Heritage Foundation, told the Times: "The president used the State of the Union to defend past spending increases, and he made eight specific calls for new spending increases. But he made zero calls for spending cuts. He merely said focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending and be wise with people's money. That's not specific enough." On C-Span's call-in television show, Riedl said the deficit could lead to massive tax increases and called for cuts in pork projects and corporate farm welfare (which he added only harms small farms). Translated: Bush has screwed up on the deficit On Friday, the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution 98-1 (the lone dissenter was a Democrat) urging Congress to exempt Virginia and states like it from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, The Washington Post reported. The law "represents the most sweeping intrusions into state and local control of education in the history of the United States," the resolution says, and will cost "literally millions of dollars that Virginia does not have." These are not only Republicans talking, but southern Republicans. The resolution follows months of griping from local and state educators that the federal law conflicts with Virginia's Standards of Learning testing program. The resolution is also considered the strongest action yet by a legislative body in protest of the law, which is not backed by enough money to administer it. Other GOP-controlled state legislatures which have challenged the law in some form include Ohio, North Dakota and Utah. Translated, again: Bush screwed up on education. Last Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a front-page story reporting that CIA officials are warning of a possible civil war in Iraq. What a shock. They finally figured that out. While guerillas presumably loyal to Saddam Hussein continue to kill American troops and Iraqis, a Shiite Muslim leader in the south known as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has insisted on direct elections instead of caucuses to choose delegates. He won't talk directly to the Americans. There are fears that al-Sistani's position can lead to a revolt against American troops. Observers also suspect that al-Sistani is using the practice of democracy to seize control of Iraq and then eliminate democracy. After all, Shiites account for 60 percent of the population, so they would be in the majority in any election. In northern Iraq, Kurds want Iraqi Arabs - numbered at 270,000 - kicked out of Kirkuk and vicinity and an explicit commitment for expanded autonomy in order to go along with a central government in Baghdad, according to The Washington Post. That notion is rejected by Shiites religious leaders, Sunni Muslim leaders and Turkmens in the Kirkuk area. In other words, Bush could well be screwing up. How many more screw-ups can we afford?