Though most Americans believe that Bush is dishonest, nothing dramatic will change unless Republicans in the House and Senate put loyalty to America above loyalty to party. It shouldn't be hard; Bush's economic and security policies are clearly out of line with Republican principles. They would be disloyal to their president (whose brief coattails are in tatters) and his administration, but to little else.
Why aren't they taking action? There are at least two fundamental factors, both deeply practical and deeply psychological: they fear reprisals from a vindictive leader and they fear driving that very leader to more extreme behavior in order to retain his power. Our best hope is to appeal to Republican leaders in good psychological health who can draw on strengths from all kinds of sources.
I do not know Congressman Tom Davis personally, but he is proving to be such a person. Though he has always struck me as a very conservative supporter of Bush and all his policies, something seems to have changed -- probably the administration's indifference to Katrina victims.
It is one thing to fear a punitive father figure (even when fatherly discipline promotes growth and development), but Bush only disciplines people to protect his position. As Davis seems to have noticed, Bush has no interest in the growth or change of people in this country. Fear has been replaced by the understanding that the president's agenda is not in the best interest of the American people.
So I applaud Mr. Davis, who has decried the failure of White House officials to release e-mails and other communication records related to the hurricane and its aftermath. Davis set a hard deadline of November 18 for all federal agencies to comply with his requests. "If documents aren't produced by that date, I'm ready to proceed with subpoenas," he said.
There you have it. Bravo. Only courageous Republicans can really alter the disastrous course our nation has taken -- a course of reckless spending, needless killing, and a total absence of compassion for those in need.