Instapundit linked to a great post on ABC.com's "The Note". The post that Glenn points out is terrific! I give major points to ABC for being gutsy to publish something that is so self-critical of the press-corps.
UPDATE: Keep scrolling on this and read about the hype of Pres. Bush's base cracking. You can find even more on Andrew Sullivan, but its a little more frantic and dire sounding. Here's the Money Quote #1 from the ABC piece:
It still has a hard time understanding how, despite the drumbeat of conservative grass-top complaints about overspending and deficits, President Bush's base remains extremely and loyally devoted to him -- and it looks for every opportunity to find cracks in that base.
Sullivan seems sure of Bush's waning charm with true conservatives as apparent in these posts:
Bush-hatred, in other words, may have peaked. Bush-skepticism may be rising. Dean didn't win. Kerry did. And the skepticism may be more deadly.
Here is the truth. The rates of growth of all discretionary spending are as follows: 2000: 7.5 percent; 2001: 5.6 percent; 2002 (Bush's first real year): 13.1 percent; 2003: 12.4 percent. Now I think the president meant discretionary spending apart from defense and homeland security. There, the administration deserves credit for what appears to be a slow decline in the rate of growth, from its 2002 height. So where does the 15 percent of Clinton's last year come from? There you can see that Bush is repeating the Josh Bolten spin about what the administration intended to spend, but not what it actually spent. Lie is too strong a word for this. But no honest person could describe those figures as Bush's or Clinton's actual record. Spinsanity calls it: "misleading." I'd simply call it "culpable negligence." Bush is also ignoring the looming social security crisis, his own Medicare bill, and the Alternative Minimum Tax chimera. Tim Noah is right to point out that this level of deception is aimed primarily at fiscal conservatives. When an administration starts spinning untruths to its own supporters, it's in trouble.
One the other hand, Peggy Noonan is doing her best not to say that the interview sucked. Money quote:
The president seemed tired, unsure and often bumbling. His answers were repetitive, and when he tried to clarify them he tended to make them worse. He did not seem prepared. He seemed in some way disconnected from the event. When he was thrown the semisoftball question on his National Guard experience--he's been thrown this question for 10 years now--he spoke in a way that seemed detached. "It's politics." Well yes, we know that. Tell us more.
It occurs me to that, on this question, he might have nothing more to say. The criticism might well be right. Gulp.
My take on all of this is that the honeymoon is over. At some point in an Administration real changes start happening. Campaign promises either start getting fulfilled or trashed. President Bush has done a little of both. He promised a more compassionate conservatism and he is delivering on that through domestic spending. He promised tax cuts and he delivered like a champ on those. He also promised fiscal discipline and he's fallen on his face on that one. In his defense the new spending on Defense and Homeland Security, which have been the large rachets of his spending increases, are more than appropriate considering the gutting of those budgets during the Clinton years. See this table to get an idea of how much defense money we lost. In fact, if you look at the percentage of GDP, then Bush has alot more to do if he really is going to keep his other campaign promise of bolstering our military. This story in the Star-Telegram shows the need for at least an increase to 4% of GDP for Defense and Homeland Security. Back to the real point though:
Bush is finally doing what he said, and in the end he will be re-elected or fired for it. I have a feeling that those like Andrew Sullivan are too busy getting tied in knots over the superflous issues that Bush isn't kissing their various rings on: gay marriage, education, etc. The end of the story comes down to who you really are. Either you are a moralist conservative(not a bad thing to be by the way!) or a foreign policy conservative, or a fiscal conservative, in the end though you are a conservative. Unless somebody switched parties on me in the last five minutes, none of those groups have ANY representation in the Democratic party. Now, you can try to say that Bill Clinton was a fiscal conservative(Mr. Sullivan) but get real. Clinton didn't spend because we had a Republican congress with guts who refused to let him. As far as John Kerry goes, you have no shot at making a detailed or prolonged case for his fiscal discipline. His idea of balancing the budget is to "make all the rich people pay." That sounds great except his defintion of rich is a couple making $100K or more. Now as far as the foreign policy conservatives go, I don't think anything needs to be said. It's George Bush or its nothing. Finally, the moral conservatives(that's me) love this man! He speaks the truth, says what he means, and has restored dignity to the White House. He also isn't afraid to talk about integrity and decency unlike those like Sullivan and the other carpers who would rather rant about gay marriage or budget deficits.
I want to wrap up with one statement: One man can't fix a country. When he signs bills he either has to accept them with all their flaws or reject them no matter the good they may do. I think this President knows that more than any other and is still waiting for the rest of to do our job and start fixing the bad spots.