"Unyielding" Bush Must Reach Beyond "Conservative Base" (and Fire Rumsfeld?)

Robin Toner sees a "more conciliatory" Bush in the offing.

Robin Toner sees bipartisanship ahead for the "proudly unyielding" George W. Bush in her Election Day post-mortem "news analysis," "A Loud Message for Bush," in which she twice emphasizes that Bush can't afford to simply focus on his "conservative base" anymore. She alsosees pressure on Bush tobecome "more conciliatory" toward Democrats- which apparently also means dumping Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

"Everything is different now for President Bush. The era of one-party Republican rule in Washington ended with a crash in yesterday's midterm elections, putting a proudly unyielding president on notice that the voters want change, especially on the war in Iraq."


"For six years, Mr. Bush has often governed, and almost always campaigned, with his attention focused on his conservative base. But yesterday's voting showed the limits of those politics, as practiced - and many thought perfected - by Mr. Bush and his chief political adviser, Karl Rove."


"After a campaign that only escalated the tension between Mr. Bush and Congressional Democrats, the president will now face overwhelming pressure to take a more conciliatory approach. For example, he will be under increasing pressure to re-evaluate his support for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, which he so publicly restated in the closing days of the campaign."


"His circle had clearly hoped that the conservative base would come through in the end, saving the Republican majority even in the face of an unpopular war. But this time, it was not enough."