Talk about losing your base

Cup2In a wide-ranging interview in today's New York Times, Bush/Cheney campaign strategist Matthew Dowd talks about his disillusionment with the president he helped elect.

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

Karl Rove and Matthew Dowd talked as President Bush spoke at a campaign rally in 2004 in Canton, Ohio. 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.

Read the rest here. Discuss.

  • Jamie (unverified)

    Over at the progressives have out their long knives, salivating over the chance to jump on Dowd and the Bush administration. All due, I suppose.

    But Dowd makes a comment, that seems to come from a genuine place, that would serve us all: “I think we should design campaigns that appeal not to 51 percent of the people,” he said, “but bring the country together as a whole.”

  • Ross Williams (unverified)

    But Dowd makes a comment, that seems to come from a genuine place, that would serve us all: “I think we should design campaigns that appeal not to 51 percent of the people,” he said, “but bring the country together as a whole.”

    Which means Dowd can't find anyone willing to pay him to run a campaign so he is trying to build a career as an experienced political commentator.

    He was wrong about George Bush, is there any reason to think he has anything else right?

  • LT (unverified)

    Give the guy credit for saying he couldn't be quiet any longer. Maybe it will finally dawn on at least some of the "Bushies" that Americans have the right to think for themselves, and telling people they are required to admire any politician because the supporters say so usually backfires in the end.

    One reason so many people are cynical about politics is that they once believed in something that didn't work out. Or, as a friend once said, "scratch a cynic and you will find a disappointed romantic.

    Like it or not, comments like these from Dowd are more likely to win over the folks who are not partisans than all the partisan activism one can imagine.

    There are people in politics (at all levels) who have disappointed those who helped them get elected, and then the politicians act as if they never did anything to apologize for. I personally know of people who supported a candidate (actively or just voting and telling friends about a candidate) who become disenchanted. In some cases these folks helped "unelect" that candidate at the next opportunity, or start telling friends why they would never support someone like that again.

    I appreciated these remarks-maybe young hotshots will learn a lesson.

    "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....................... 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."

  • Sandy (unverified)

    Getting out of Iraq in 2005; subsidized health insurance; alternative renewable energy; labor, environment, and human rights IN trade agreements; increase taxes on top 2%.

    I think we did design a campaign that would appeal to the majority of the country in 2004. It's what everybody is supporting now. Kind of the point of "Kerry was right".

    Rank and file Democrats have got to stop buying into the right wing smear campaigns, that's what needs to happen. If Dowd organized those smear tactics, then he won the election, not Karl Rove.

  • (Show?)

    Getting out of Iraq in 2005

    So who'll get us out of Iraq in 2007?

  • dartagnan (unverified)

    File this under "NOW He Tells Us ... "

  • dartagnan (unverified)

    I read the Dowd article in the Times. It seems he was won over (as many others have been) by Bush's supposed "personal charm." (I've never been able to see it myself, but then I've never met him personally.)

    One of the common traits of a person with antisocial personality disorder -- otherwise known as a sociopath or psychopath -- is a glib, superficial charm that often takes people in (even smart people) and prevents them from seeing him for the son of a bitch he really is.

    Dowd says his initial relationship with Bush was "like falling in love," but by the summer of 2005 the affair had started to turn sour: “I had finally come to the conclusion that maybe all these things along do add up,” he said. “That it’s not the same, it’s not the person I thought.”

  • (Show?)

    What a dumb $#@&! this guy had to be.

    A genius of political strategy and interpretation of polling data, but an utter and absolute boob when it comes to reading human beings.

    I find myself wondering how much of this disaffection originated in conflict / friction with Rove, before it developed into the disillusionment with Bush he is now going public with.

  • Susan Abe (unverified)

    Mark Kleiman at the Reality-Based Community raises the interesting point that someone opposed to the Way of Bush would have to be, to quote Stephanie, "a dumb $#@&!" to hassle Mr. Dowd at this juncture, instead of welcoming him with open arms.

  • Rick T (unverified)

    Well, one of the characteristics of the "Conformtarian" personality is that it is always looking for someone to love.

    I would hope that Mr. Dowd, having been taken in by a sociopath, would get the counseling he needs to resolve long standing issues. Then I will listen to his observations on the last few years and judge if he has recovered.

    <h2>A Liberal Education at a small State College would help a lot too.</h2>
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