I live about a trillion miles from Washington, D.C., but it sure seems like someone blew the Beltway Dog Whistle, instructing all the little yappers that it's now safe to say "Oh, I never really liked that Bush fellow anyway."
With Patrick Fitzgerald preparing his (we presume) indictments, it's now the Week of the Long Knives, where Poppy Bush's best pal Brent Scowcroft tries to outdo Lawrence Wilkerson in the blade-plunging department while Bush lashes out at Cheney, the White House prepares for turnover, the 2,000th U.S. soldier prepares to die in Iraq and Richard Holbrooke snickers ruefully in the Washington Post.
Now we can expect a festival of Clinton-impeachment switcheroos, with Dems learning to love perjury traps while Republicans ditch the "rule of law"; and everyone trades places on the wisdom of having a sitting president testify in a civil suit. Coming up: Besieged complaints about the vast left-wing conspiracy, and true-believer laments that the president's detractors "refuse to accept the results of the election." Good times.
Over at the New York Times it's a fearful foursome on top of Judy Miller, with Editor Bill Keller, Ombudsman Byron Calame and even reluctant, steak-buying Pinch Sulzberger trying (and failing) to outscratch Maureen Dowd, as Little Miss Run Amok pens desperate little notes of dismayal.
But the real sign that the winds have changed came with my morning coffee, as I read Niall Ferguson—he of the "America! Embrace your inner empire!" argument—wash his hands with this sentence. "By definition [Bush] is replaceable, in 2008 if not before."
If not before! At least Ferguson, unlike the vast majority of the conservative pilers-on, found it within his vast intellect and moral conviction to arrive at Bush skepticism before another kind of Beltway Dog Whistle blew way back in those distant days of November 2004.