I don't like Kristol but deep down every conservative wishes that Bush would be more blunt instead of this new tone or compassionate conservatism crap.
Well, I'm a card-carrying charter member of the "Bushbots," and proud of it, but even I'm getting a bit of grief from people for stating the obvious: the Bush White House doesn't do a good job defending its policies.
It's the media. The media was terrible during the whole 2004 campaign. The Bush folks thought they had overcome that with their victory. The fact is, Bush should have won that election by 7 points.
The media was depressed for a week or two after the election, but then went on the attack and never stopped. I think the Bush folks thought there would be a lull after the election.
The media defines their success by how poor Bush is doing.