Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for Bush's 2004 Presidential Campaign, says he was wrong, according to the New York Times...
In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership.
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. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.
In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him.
He said his decision to step forward had not come easily. But, he said, his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power.
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.
“I’m a big believer that in part what we’re called to do — to me, by God; other people call it karma — is to restore balance when things didn’t turn out the way they should have,” Mr. Dowd said. “Just being quiet is not an option when I was so publicly advocating an election.”
The article also points out that the expected deployment of Dowd's son to Iraq was an "important factor" in his change of heart. Funny how that sort of thing strikes home when it's your family who is finally asked to make a sacrifice. Go figure.
Dowd also mentions that Bush's refusal to meet with Cindy Sheehan in Crawford in 2005 also added to his doubts about Bush.
On both of those points, we'd point you to this live performance of Sons & Daughters by Jesse Dyen [MP3], from one of the 50 or so hours of BRAD SHOW broadcasts from on the ground in Camp Casey during the summer of '05. The clip linked above was from one of our last days there...Katrina had already rolled in. Another one of the reasons for Dowd's defections. If you haven't heard it, Dyen's song is well worth a quick listen....