I think this is telling:
"Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say," the president said, "but I redefined the Republican Party."
It's pretty clear that Bush and conservatives shared one thing: a basic failure to understand each other.
I wrote this three years ago:
Congressional Republicans and the right in general, have been trapped by an odd set of historical circumstances. Even before 9/11 we over-committed to Bush because he was in a peculiarly weak position. Remember, he was a minority president who needed a Supreme Court decision to confirm his victory. A few months into his term, his party lost control of the Senate. There was a very real danger of a Jimmy Carter type of failed presidency.
It was understandable that we rallied to the only leader we had. It was even more understandable that we rallied to a war president after we were attacked.
Unfortunately, in Bush we had a weak political leader who was also an energetic, self-confident CEO . He pursued his own course with little concern for the domestic coalition he led. Worst of all, he does not recognize that political loyalty is reciprocal.