I continue to believe the administration's problem is not that the base lately doesn't like it, but that the White House has decided it actually doesn't like the base.
Gee, why might that be the case? Remember the article that Time ran last month on Harriet Miers?
Back at Bush's side, Miers is one of the dwindling number of longtime Texas confidants still at the White House at this time of upheaval. The loyalty is reciprocal--Bush was still hot months later about how she was treated, viewing her as a victim of snobby elitists. To White House officials, Miers is a quiet workaholic who got an inexcusably raw deal.
I have emphasized the important points, and think that with Time's report, we are seeing one of the reasons the White House might be a little displeased with the base. That displeasure is probably not helped when there is still constant sniping at Miers from ConfirmThem.com, according to Hugh Hewitt.
This is of a piece with the grumblers elsewhere. Hardly a post goes by at ConfirmThem.com where someone doesn't denounce the president for the Miers nomination, though every time they do they buy again into the left's vision of the Court and its members as high priests with vast duties undoable except by the select.
What is very odd is that many of those denouncing the administration and insisting on some electoral slap downs in the fall are also those who denounce Counsel Miers as regularly as they sip orange juice.
That sniping only reminds the White House staffers who lurk at those sites of how their colleague was given a raw deal. So, not only did they proceed to trash one of the closest and most loyal aides of a President known to value loyalty, they are proceeded to remind the Administration of it on virtually every post at some sites. They forgot something... George W. Bush is prohibited by the 22nd Amendment from seeking a third term. His Vice-President has no interest in replacing him. In other words, he does not have to lift a finger to help them out - and he has the freedom to tell the base to kiss his butt if they tick him off enough. And trashing one of his most loyal aides was something that could get him predisposed to do so.
But it wasn't just a loyal aide that got trashed. Earlier this year, a valuable ally in the war on terror got the same treatment from the base, despite the facts. Now the base - fuelled by misreported facts - had threatened what President Bush considered to be the most important issue facing the country.
Given all of this, if I were the Bush White House, I'd have a couple of rather large bones to pick with the base. I'd be looking for a way to send a message that I am my own person - and I would not be dictated to. Immigration is a natural issue for Bush to do this on, due to his long-standing position in favor of higher legal immigration and a guest-worker program.
And he is now engaging in this battle with all the effort he put into liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention getting Justices Alito and Roberts confirmed. He is in this fight to win. When George W. Bush intends to win a political battle, he usually does so. This one just happens to be with his base.