But even in this unsettled campaign season, the conversion of Hart -- speechwriter for two Republican presidents, former writer for the National Review, and patron saint of the notorious Dartmouth Review -- to Obama's banner is cause for a double take. Nancy Hart said she believes her husband is emblematic of a larger class of old-school Republicans disenchanted with the status quo.
“People who are disgusted with Bush,” she said. “A lot of them are.”
Professor Hart suggests that our labels are often misguided and points to Bush's policies as evidence:
Hart's estrangement from George W. Bush's brand of conservatism -- which Hart describes as “radicalism,” citing an expansion of federal spending and aggressive foreign policy -- began some time ago. After voting for Bush in 2000, Hart says he supported Sen. John Kerry in 2004. In the 2006 Congressional elections, Hart cast a ballot for Democrat Paul Hodes -- not Charlie Bass, the Republican whom Hart had voted for six times — out of frustration over the Iraq War, which he says has been mishandled.
“It's all wrong,” Hart said. “It's not going to be a beacon of liberty. There's no indication that Bush or Wolfowitz or Cheney looked at Iraq and said, ‘What are the problems here?' It’s as if Eisenhower did D-Day not knowing whether they had a cliff or a swamp on the other side.”
Hart also finds the GOP's aligning with religious conservatives problematic, as well as their inability to address key domestic issues, such as healthcare.
Steve and Tony are not the only grownup Republicans. Perhaps the others are standing and demanding to be counted. I applaud and say "welcome to the reality-based community."