Ex-Bush Aid Says Kerry Was Right

Discussion in 'Politics' started by wiggles, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. wiggles
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    wiggles Active Member

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    Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President

    By JIM RUTENBERG
    Published: April 1, 2007

    AUSTIN, Tex., March 29 — In 1999, Matthew Dowd became a symbol of George W. Bush’s early success at positioning himself as a Republican with Democratic appeal.

    A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington. He switched parties, joined Mr. Bush’s political brain trust and dedicated the next six years to getting him to the Oval Office and keeping him there. In 2004, he was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist.

    Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

    In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership.

    He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.


    “I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.”

    In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him.

    He said his decision to step forward had not come easily. But, he said, his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power.

    Mr. Dowd, a crucial part of a team that cast Senator John Kerry as a flip-flopper who could not be trusted with national security during wartime, said he had even written but never submitted an op-ed article titled “Kerry Was Right,” arguing that Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate, was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq.

    “I’m a big believer that in part what we’re called to do — to me, by God; other people call it karma — is to restore balance when things didn’t turn out the way they should have,” Mr. Dowd said. “Just being quiet is not an option when I was so publicly advocating an election.”

    Mr. Dowd’s journey from true believer to critic in some ways tracks the public arc of Mr. Bush’s political fortunes. But it is also an intensely personal story of a political operative who at times, by his account, suppressed his doubts about his professional role but then confronted them as he dealt with loss and sorrow in his own life.

    In the last several years, as he has gradually broken his ties with the Bush camp, one of Mr. Dowd’s premature twin daughters died, he was divorced, and he watched his oldest son prepare for deployment to Iraq as an Army intelligence specialist fluent in Arabic. Mr. Dowd said he had become so disillusioned with the war that he had considered joining street demonstrations against it, but that his continued personal affection for the president had kept him from joining protests whose anti-Bush fervor is so central.

    Mr. Dowd, 45, said he hoped in part that by coming forward he would be able to get a message through to a presidential inner sanctum that he views as increasingly isolated. But, he said, he holds out no great hope. He acknowledges that he has not had a conversation with the president.

    Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor, said Mr. Dowd’s criticism is reflective of the national debate over the war.

    “It’s an issue that divides people,” Mr. Bartlett said. “Even people that supported the president aren’t immune from having their own feelings and emotions.”


    http://tinyurl.com/2cymcj
     
  2. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Saw this in the NYT this morning. Iraq a disaster, agreed. But this fruit loop is a joke! "I like Obama, because he has a message of unity." "What I'd really like to do is help the Africans."

    Duh. If this is what qualifies you for the "Bush brain trust," that would explain a lot. A few crafty Jews looking for war in middle east backed up by a bunch of complete dimwits who believe anything.
     
  3. wiggles
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    wiggles Active Member

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    He'd have less credibility with me if he continued to support the war, but it's hard to feel for someone who helped send that many people to die for no good reason and then says oops.
    What didn't he "criticize the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, or failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq" before now?
    Better late than never, I guess.
     
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  4. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    I suspect his change of heart came when his own son got shipped off to Iraq. It wasn't just other people's sons then.
     
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  5. Scooter
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    Scooter Senior Member

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    Dowd's "change of heart" came from seeing Bush change in response to 9/11. He had seen Bush as a centrist and a "bridge builder" in Texas. From Dowd's perspective, Bush changed after 9/11 into an uncompromising idealogue. It took Dowd several years to conclude this change was not temporary.

    You can argue Bush's actions were a necessary response to a clear and present danger to the nation (which I believe), but remember, Dowd came up as a TX Democrat and liked George primarily because of how he reached across the aisle in Austin.

    Dowd "converted" to join the Bush team, but he's hardly a hard-core conservative.
     
  6. jasendorf
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    jasendorf Senior Member

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    I think President Bush has always been who he is today, well, at least since he stopped being a drunk. And that is "whatever Karl or my dads 'guys' tell me to be."
     
  7. wiggles
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    wiggles Active Member

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    Isn't that always the way with the righties? It's like Nancy Reagan and stem cell research. They only care about something when it affects one of their own.
     
  8. wiggles
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    wiggles Active Member

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    That "reaching across the aisle" stuff was always just bullshit rhetoric. Just like "Compassionate Conservative." Bush's idea of reaching across the aisle has always meant steamrolling his agenda and if the other side doesn't like it too bad. His idea of "compassion" is to simply call himself compassionate without actually practicing compassion.
     
  9. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Bush never 'stopped' being a drunk. He may have quit the boozing, but he is still a drunk, albeit a dry drunk. Having never dealt with the issues that led him to drink in the first place, he is still at the mercy of those forces, as well as the cognitive impairments that result from years of ETOH abuse. This can be seen in his rigid black-and-white/good-and-evil views, his almost childish intransigence, his 'my way or the highway' attitude, his antipathy towards those he sees as standing in his way, his almost pathological obsession with 'victory' in Iraq.

    Like it or not, our president IS a dry drunk, burdened with all of the baggage that entails. And we're strapped in the back seat, along for the ride, as he careens towards a precipice.
     

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