Peggy Noonan thinks that perhaps President Bush does not like his base. I do not know if she's right, but I would not be surprised if the president is not terribly fond of some of the base's spokesmen and spokeswomen. Take a look at Called As Seen, where Harold Hutchison suggests some reasons why that might be so.
I don't buy Harold's suggestion that perhaps Bush is trying to show the base that he is his own person-- the president is smarter than that. But I do think Bush has a stubborn streak and we may be seeing some of that expressing itself.
What dismays me most about the louder members of the base is their childishly long memories. Take the Harriet Miers fiasco, for example. Bush made a misstep, a portion of the base screamed (loudly and too often without class), and Bush then gave the base what it wanted, withdrawing Miers and nominating Alito. Again, he did what the base wanted.
But, as Harold and Hugh Hewitt note, some baseniks can't seem to forgive or forget. They bring the Miers nomination up repeatedly.
The Miers example is not isolated. The Dubai Ports deal was another case where a portion of the base screamed and Bush backed down. That portion gives Bush no credit for doing so, however, and bring that matter up all the time as an example of Bush's many misdeeds-- even though he never actually committed the alleged misdeed. Apparently Bush's even having attempted the deal (a decision in which he probably was not even involved) was itself a misdeed-- and unforgivable at that.
I have known these kinds of people the entire time I have been involved in GOP politics. They never change. Oh, well. As Shimon Peres is supposed to have said regarding the Palestinian problem:
The close-minded and unreasonable portion of the Republican base is one of those facts, I'm afraid. Here's hoping President Bush continues to show good coping skills.
If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact-- not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.