The Bush administration doesn't quite realize it yet, but the president and vice-president will, in the future, become moral pariahs to a lot of people. Not pariah in the sense of Clinton, whose sexual addiction evokes both pity and anger that he kept lying about it. And not pariah in the sense of Nixon, who committed a crime against his opponents, his office and the constitution. What the revulsion of Brigham Young students - yes, Brigham Young students - suggests is that for many of the next generation of natural Republican supporters, Bush and Cheney are moral pariahs. Their wartime deceptions, their skewing of intelligence to suit their preferences, their authorization of torture, their renditions policy, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in a bungled war, their warrant-free wiretaping: all of it combines to give us quotes like this from a devout Mormon student:
"The problem is this is a morally dubious man," said Andrew Christensen, a 22-year-old Republican from Salt Lake City [of Dick Cheney]. "It's challenging the morality and integrity of this institution."
As Dan Drezner points out, the Bush administration cannot get leading figures in the military to take over the job of a new war czar, and West Point is seeing a sharp spike in graduates leaving the military altogether. When a Republican administration has lost Mormons and the military, you know it's entering the twilight zone of collapse. I wonder if Bush or Cheney are even capable of understanding that - or the reputation that will cling to them for the rest of their lives.
(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty.)