"Game over, man, game over!" Republicans aren't mad at Bush for the same reasons that Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the devotees of MoveOn.org are; there's no new anti-Bush consensus among left and right. No, conservatives are unhappy because the president allied himself with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) over an immigration deal that leaned too far toward amnesty for illegal immigrants. They're unhappy because Bush has shown little interest in fiscal responsibility and limited government. And they're unhappy, above all, because he hasn't won the war in Iraq.
All of this has left Republicans saying, at least among themselves, something blunt and devestating: It's over.
"Bush fatigue has set in," declares one plugged-in GOP activist.
"We're ready for a new president," says a former state Republican Party official in the South.
"There was affection," opines a conservative strategist based well beyond the Beltway, "But now they're in divorce court."
(snip) So now the president has 18 months left in office, and they won't be quiet ones. Absent the committed backing of his party, he will be forced to exercise power based not on his political clout but rather on the authority the Constitution gives the office of the president: He is commander in chief. He can veto bills. He can issue pardons. And that's about it. Bush's problem is that he seems to think it's still 2004, when he had enough goodwill in a party that was still in the majority and enough public support with regards to the war to basically do what he wanted. Now he has to lean so heavily on Cheney it's embarrassing-the lame duck who needs his Number Two as a crutch. It's even worse when he won't admit it. And th-th-that's all, folks!