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Bush Savages His Base
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May 30, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy is surprised at the level of rhetoric displayed by President Bush in a speech attacking critics of the immigration bill:

Those determined to find fault with this [immigration] bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don`t like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don`t want to do what`s right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people.

Professor Kerr says

Just to be clear, what I find notable — and very unfortunate — is the use of this kind of language coming from the President of the United States. I realize that it`s easy to find such rhetoric online, and that some columnists use it. But it`s different coming from the President of the United States, who deserves to be held to a much higher standard.

In the comments, some of his readers search for historical parallels, but the main thing, noticed by one commenter, is that this is a case of a President attacking not his political enemies, or those who he perceives as the nation`s enemies. That would be almost normal, like FDR talking about "malefactors of great wealth" or calling isolationists "The New Copperheads." Who Bush is attacking is his base. Even people who`ve supported Bush through thick and thin are starting to think he`s losing it, including David Frum, author in 2003 of The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush and of course, author of the 2003 NRO article Unpatriotic Conservatives, asks on NRO if it`s "really smart to abuse" people who been loyal to Bush, and Jay Nordlinger says, also on NRO

A little advice for President Bush: Watch your rhetoric against opponents of the immigration bill. Be understanding of those who oppose it. Why? Well, in part, because they include some of the people who still love you — and that band is not getting any bigger.

That`s what`s so amazing—if President Bush was attacking us, that would make sense, but he`s actually attacking those people who support him.