"I think that when the "honest conservatives" reject Bush they're just setting up their assault on the Democratic president they expect to see elected next year. Their way of digging themselves out from under the Bush disaster (and obscuring their own massive role in that disaster) will be to swear that "Never again can an American President be allowed that kind of free hand!" This will justify their fighting the new Democratic President tooth and nail for every inch of ground.
For example, Bush's politicization of the career staff in Justice and elsewhere was a very bad thing, no? And certainly this kind of thing has to stop, no? So we will forbid the new Democratic President to interfere with career personnel, with the result that all of the political hacks Bush put in civil service positions will be untouchable. (When that happens, can we expect the media to understand what's going on? No, of course not....)"
I have known this would happen for years. The radical right pollutes the water and the Democrats have to spend all their time cleaning up the mess, and paying the bills. The Republicans then get to say "see, those Democrats just tax and spend." Yeah, cleaning up your mess and paying off the debts you accrued for eight years. Some dolts even have the gall to blame Clinton for the current mess. I know not all Republicans believe this, but the talking heads do, and all too many Americans take what they say as Gospel.