A few years ago, I met this guy that I had an extreme crush on. He was cute and a bit of a curmudgeon, like me. I tended to bypass some of his faults as being part of his adoring character. The relationship never did work out and later on, I started to see some of his traits were not really that cute after all.
A lot of people who once really liked the President are starting to feel the same way. In the days after 9/11, I really did think that President Bush was a godsend and was looking forward to voting for him come 2004. The Iraq came and his support of the so-called Marriage Amendment and it all went downhill for me. If you read some of Andrew Sullivan's entries back circa 2001-03, you could see that Andrew definitely had a big crush on Bush. If you read Andrew now? Not so much.
In light of that, you might want to read how former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd has fallen out of love with the President. It's a heartbreaking story in my view. Why? Because this President could have been a better president than he was. And yet he wasn't. but while it is sad to see what could have been, there is also some hope in this article. After the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, Dowd went to work for the Scharzenegger re-election campaign, which was defintely more unifying than the presidential campaign of three years ago. Dowd has learned that it is better campaign to all the people and not just a slim majority:
“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.”
He said that he still believed campaigns must do what it takes to win, but that he was never comfortable with the most hard-charging tactics. He is now calling for “gentleness” in politics. He said that while he tried to keep his own conduct respectful during political combat, he wanted to “do my part in fixing fissures that I may have been part of.”
One would hope that as the Bush era comes to a close, we will go to a more "kindler and gentler" style of campaigning and governing. We need someone who will talk about America as a whole and not seek to divide us.