My own hunch is that in the last two or three months there's been a change in the tone of the blogosphere. Nothing definite, simply a change in atmosphere in proportion to the degree of abstract tendencies of the blogger. Authors who trafficked in ideas and concepts have altered the most. Some have paused to take stock, pleading disgust or confusion; still others have returned to writing as seemingly different persons; others seem to be suffering a kind of nervous breakdown, obsessed with hatred for one or more public figures or inventing new words and finding conspiracies in everything they see.
Is that a thinly veiled swipe at moi? No nervous breakdown here. My own catharsis was the period after Abu Ghraib was revealed. I gave up on Bush over two years ago. Reality bit me in the keister.
My own view is that what has happened these last few months has been the final collapse of denial on the part of conservatives about Bush. With the Iraq engagement offering little but incremental progress and demoralizing, daily bloodshed, conservatives are asking why they liked Bush in the first place. The "war-on-terror" loyalism has broken down. They look at massive spending hikes, a staggering and growing debt, a large expansion of executive power, the biggest new entitlement in a generation, Cunningham-type sleaze, and now a refusal from the president to build a huge new wall to seal off Mexico... and they cannot maintain the pretense any longer. That's why the polling has collapsed. It's not as if liberals or libertarians have become more opposed to Bush. It's that conservatives have finally rubbed their eyes and opened them.