Bush strategist looks back in sadness
Dowd, 46, is one of the nation's leading political strategists, a onetime Democrat who switched sides to help put Bush in the White House, then win a second term. He spent years shaping and promoting Bush's policies -- policies that Dowd now views with a mixture of anguish and contempt.I have no sympathy for Dowd and others that foisted this disaster of a President upon the US and the world. I really don't know what his motivation was but he is responsible for the disaster and if he didn't see what he was selling he's even dumber than George W. Bush. If he did see it he's lower than pond scum. Sorry Mr Dowd, it's too little too late.
He began expressing his disillusionment, tentatively at first, at a UC Berkeley conference in January. Since then, he has grown more forceful.
On the administration's response to the Sept. 11 attacks: "I asked, 'Why aren't we doing bonds, war bonds? Why aren't we asking the country to do something instead of just . . . go shopping and get back on airplanes?' "
On the White House stand against same-sex marriage: "Why are we having the federal government get involved? . . . Does a thing limiting someone's rights and aimed at a particular constituency belong in the U.S. Constitution?"
On the war in Iraq: "I guess somebody would make the argument, well, the Iraq war was about defending ourselves. But it seems an awfully huge stretch these days to say that."
With a rueful laugh and, at one point, a catch in his throat, Dowd offered a lengthy account of his break with Bush during hours of conversation at his 18-acre ranch in the green Hill Country outside Austin. He puffed a cigar, and then another, as the fading sun glinted off the Blanco River. A CD player cycled through sacred music and country songs.
Dowd is not the first Bush ally to part with the administration. Former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill contributed to a book that likened the president at Cabinet meetings to a "blind man in a roomful of deaf people." John J. Dilulio Jr., who led the White House office of faith-based initiatives, left with a shot at "Mayberry Machiavellis." Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who once led U.S. forces in Iraq, accused the administration of going to war with a "catastrophically flawed" plan.
But Dowd was a part of Bush's political inner circle, enjoying a degree of power and intimacy that made his criticism all the more unexpected -- and hurtful to those still close to the president, many of whom are Dowd's friends.