Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for the 2004 Bush campaign, has had a very public falling-out with the President. He now claims he wishes Kerry had won. While Democrats certainly feel he's simply awakened to reality, Republicans are mystified.
"In the last several years, as he has gradually broken his ties with the Bush camp, one of Mr. Dowd's premature twin daughters died, he was divorced, and he watched his oldest son prepare for deployment to Iraq as an Army intelligence specialist fluent in Arabic."
Michael Barone knows Dowd and has his own theory for the break-up.
Dowd mentioned at the lunch that his wife had just given birth prematurely to twins and that (my memory is a little hazy on this) they were still in the hospital and in precarious shape. When I read the quoted sentence, I thought: This man's life has fallen into terrible ruins. To watch a child die, to have a marriage break up, to see another son (presumably from an earlier marriage) risk his life in Iraq—this must be heartbreaking. How much disaster can one person take? It's Book of Job country. In our lunch, Dowd talked of possibly running for statewide office in Texas, as a Republican (just about the only way you can win there these days). In the Times article he is quoted as saying, "I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't walking around in Africa or South America doing something that was like mission work." Some conservative bloggers have scoffed at this. I say, Give the guy a break. His whole world has crumbled around him. He probably thinks constantly about escaping to a whole 'nother world.
Barone goes on to write about Dodd's and, interestingly enough, Andrew Sullivan's explicitly-stated "love affairs" with Bush and how their loss of respect for Bush are similar. Good stuff as usual, read the whole thing.