Wednesday, October 19


Greetings from Washington, D.C., where the traffic makes me wonder why anyone would live in this city if they didn't have to.

An interesting revelation today from the brother (I'll call him Jack) of a very well connected Republican operative (let's name him Joe) who's served three presidents: "Bush has lost me." Jack, a well-known Texas personality and also a loyal Republican, added, "He lost me not long ago, but my brother? Unbelievable." Joe assisted with the writing of the Iraqi constitution, has been chief of staff for state and national Republican organizations, and has backed Dubya, whom he has advised for years and counts as a friend, through thick and thin. The final straw? Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers (whom the brothers have known for 30 years) to a seat on the Supreme Court. According to my source Jack, there are two issues that the brothers and many of their fellow travelers cannot stomach: her lack of qualifications for the SCOTUS and the injection of religious faith into the debate.

I asked Jack if Joe had indicated whether or not Bush had been isolated from his advisors regarding the selection of Miers. No, he replied, Joe said he and others had told Bush not to do it, that it was a mistake, and Dubya had more or less shrugged and said he was going to do it anyway. That attitude has not set well with many of his influential supporters. Karl Rove, he said, is completely absorbed by his problems with Plamegate, and his deft political touch and management abilities are sorely missed.

Jack suggested that it might finally be the right time for a third party, one that could be supported by moderates who are fiscal conservatives but progressive on social issues. Such people, he said, are fiercely opposed to "movement conservatives" and the religious right, which would roll back American society to a fantasy 1950's like that depicted in the movie Pleasantville and destroy the doctrine of separation of church and state.

"Right now I'd vote for Bill Clinton if he could run again," Jack pronounced, "but there's not another Democrat I can think of that I'd back."


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