If we’re looking to blame someone for the failure of Republican government and the conservative crack-up, look to the White House, yes, and look to the late, unlamented Republican Congress. But also look to the conservative talk show hosts, the conservative columnists, and finally, in the mirror. The only way we’re going to rebuild after the present and coming political shattering is through honest reckoning, and taking responsibility for what we’ve done. It is tempting to blame Bush for everything. But it’s not fair, and it’s not honest. Bush is today who he always was. The difference is we conservatives pretty much loved the guy – when he was a winner.
Right. I would only add that beyond individual Bush-related errors, the big problem here has been the right’s deep, deep, deep investment in the politics of resentments. Conservatives saw Bush’s primary job as frustrating liberals. And he did that job well. He secured political power without really reaching out to us at all. We were pissed, and we were doubly pissed that not everyone was as pissed as we were. It just turns out that if your conception of the president’s job doesn’t involve running the country well, then your team’s president is probably going to wind up doing a shitty job of running the country.