CONSERVATIVE DOVES?….If a liberal hawk is a liberal who nonetheless supports George Bush and the war in Iraq, what do you call a conservative who nonetheless has given up on Bush and turned against the war? A conservative dove?

While sharing a sandwich at the stylish Beachwood Mall in this Cleveland suburb, one older couple ? a judge and a teacher ? reluctantly divulged their secret: though they are stalwarts in the local Republican Party, they are planning to vote Democratic this year.

“I feel like a complete traitor, and if you’d asked me four months ago, the answer would have been different,” said the judge, after assurances of anonymity. “But we are really disgusted. It’s the lies, the war, the economy. We have very good friends who are staunch Republicans, who don’t even want to hear the name George Bush anymore.”

….Many of those interviewed said that they had experienced a growing disenchantment with the conflict in Iraq over many months, but that only recently had they decided to change their votes.

A number said they had been deeply disturbed by recent statements of David A. Kay, the former United Nations weapons inspector, who said he was skeptical about administration claims that Iraq possessed unconventional weapons.

….”I voted for him, but it seems like he’s just taking care of his rich buddies now,” said Mike Cross, a farmer from Londonderry, N.H., adding, “I’m not a great fan of John Kerry, but I’ve had enough of President Bush.”

The story also quotes poll numbers showing that 11% of former Bush supporters now plan to vote Democratic while only 5% of former Gore supporters now plan to vote for Bush.

The standard caveat applies here, of course: it’s too early to know if this means anything. But it’s still music to my ears. It sounds like at least a few conservatives are finally waking up and realizing just how shallow and unprincipled a man Bush really is.

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