It is fashionable these days in Washington for conservatives such as Bethell to criticize and harangue the President. Bush-bashing by the far right is so extensive that it's almost enough to make a liberal Democrat come to the President's defense. Almost, but not quite, for that's precisely the intended effect of this blunder from the right.
While it's one thing for the loyal opposition to denounce Bush, it's quite another for members of the President's own party to give him such a thrashing. (Imagine how embarrassing it must be for George Bush to endure unfavorable comparisons to Dan Quayle.) As Bush's popularity continues to plummet, and with it Republican hopes for 1992, quick and decisive action has been necessary. Attacks from the far right are designed to halt that slide by accusing Bush of looking too much like a Democrat in Republican tweed.
This strategy is so clever and subtle that it just might work. A few more months of harassment from the far right and Americans, Democrats in particular, might begin to feel so ashamed of those ungrateful members of the Reagan coalition that they will rally behind Bush (especially if it turns out that the President has led the nation into a war). Clever fellows those renegade Republicans!