First, a little anecdote. Along with a host of other bloggers, I was on a conference call with Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia on Wednesday. I usually don’t write anything about these conference calls because they’re reliably dull as dishwater. But this one actually had an interesting moment. Kingston let on how a bunch of Republican members of the House have grown pretty tired carrying water for the administration, and suggested that the water-carrying days are over. (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure the other bloggers on the call can verify the rough sentiment.)
The cracks in the relationships that the Bush administration has with just about everybody are beginning to show. As the administration enters its lame duck phase, it’s going to be pretty short on friends.
I wrote this back in May:
Bush's loyalty has been to "his people"-White House staffers, cabinet officers, etc. He shows very little loyalty, sympathy, or understanding for the broader coalition he leads-Republicans, conservatives, the military. He too often treats them as pawns whose only role is to obey the decisions he has made. He was willing to embarrass Senate Republicans by nominating Miers to the Supreme Court, he is willing undercut the Republican House on immigration, he panders on gas prices and was wobbly on the rights of gun owners. He is a wartime president who passes out Medals of Freedom to Muhammad Ali and neocon polemicists.
In sum, I see more reasons for pessimism than Lifson. The last couple of years of any administration are difficult. The habits of mind that GWB formed at HBS might make his especially difficult.