“I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.”
In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him.
Matthew Dowd was a strong admirer of George W. Bush describes his disillusionment to Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times in Bush's home ground in Austin where Dowd, a former Democrat, worked for Bush as part of the "brain trust," as strategist, and as someone who was good at interpreting polls. But now he sees Bush as isolated, divisive and wrong -- dead wrong -- about the war.
He said he came to believe Mr. Bush’s views were hardening, with the reinforcement of his inner circle. But, he said, the person “who is ultimately responsible is the president.” And he gradually ventured out with criticism, going so far as declaring last month in a short essay in Texas Monthly magazine that Mr. Bush was losing “his gut-level bond with the American people,” and breaking more fully in this week’s interview.
“If the American public says they’re done with something, our leaders have to understand what they want,” Mr. Dowd said. “They’re saying ‘Get out of Iraq.’ ”
Dowd, who often sounds naive and shallow, probably indulged in wishful thinking about Bush's "gut-level bond with the American people." But he's right about the isolation and its partner, the hardening of views.
I'd want to ask Dowd what took him so long.
He said he clung to the hope that Mr. Bush would get back to his Texas style of governing if he won. But he saw no change after the 2004 victory.
Texas style of governing? Wait a minute! Would that include admiration of Bush's handling of death row appeals -- one of the more shocking aspects of Bush's governorship and of his relationship with Alberto Gonzalez?
I just come back to thinking this ex-admirer of George W. Bush is and always has been, well, naive and shallow at best. I can't shake my disgust that from the Florida-2000 bully tactics through Iraq and Katrina and even now in many ways, this guy remains personally loyal to Bush-- loyal, of course, in the new 21st century meaning of the word!