"It is Topic A of every single conversation," said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that has had strong influence in staffing the administration and shaping its ideas. "I don't have a friend in the administration, on Capitol Hill or any part of the conservative foreign policy establishment who is not beside themselves with fury at the administration."
Pletka has been a Bush supporter and mouthpiece for quite some time and the AEI is certainly a major player if not the most influential one on policy in DC. Just look at the roster of those affiliated with it, including Cheney and his wife.
But the Bush White House has always paid special attention to the conversation in these conservative circles. Many of the administration's signature ideas -- regime change in Iraq, and special emphasis on military "preemption" and democracy building around the globe -- first percolated within this intellectual community. In addition, these voices can be a leading indicator of how other conservatives from talk radio to Congress will react to policies.
I thought conservatives hated intellectual elites. Not so much I guess.
We had already been aware of splits among conservatives over the Dubai ports deal, the Harriet Miers nomination, immigration and the illegal spying Bush has imposed, but for conservatives to now be vocally attacking his foreign policy initiatives (or lack thereof) in larger numbers, that split may mean the Republican controlled congress may meet its demise in November.
And what is the main complaint of the neo-cons? Not enough warmongering, naturally:
For many neoconservatives, a final straw came with the U.S. decision to offer direct talks and potential benefits to Iran as an inducement to curb its nuclear program. There appears little confidence that Bush will be able to muster support for strong international action against Iran, including air strikes to take out nuclear facilities.
The more wars going on, the more money they and their military contractor business buddies make. Who cares if people die and places get blown up? Not their concern. Bush is a failing puppet.
Grab some popcorn, sit back and watch the conservative circular firing squad in action once again.