The military defeats dogging Bush from every direction have cost the lives of many thousands of Americans far from home. These lost lives amplify each of these defeats, but Bush's greatest defeat occurred just weeks ago during the midterm Congressional elections.
In all senses of the word, this defeat was Bush's harshest, because it came at home; it was a rebuke at the hands of the American people - for whom Bush claims to be fighting terrorism. It is they – the American people - that Bush and his administration drag through the swamps of foreign wars for no reason but to implement extremist neoconservative plans and the whims of large investors in multinational corporations.
Domestic defeats are the toughest and ugliest of all, and any leadership that lacks majority support among lawmakers, cabinet ministers and even its own party, is a leadership devoid of legitimacy. And obviously, one can't rise to lead in the first place without this majority. And so we come to Bush's newest and most serious problem: He no longer commands such a majority, to the extent that some members of his own party in Congress are reticent to support his programs and his new strategy for Iraq.
The preliminary signs of Bush's most painful defeat began to appear with the downfall of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This defeat is further reflected in the way Condoleezza Rice now hops from place to place without being able to speak with the force of America's majority. Ms. Rice, like the government she is part of, has lost her ability to enforce decisions and set the agenda.
Bush's defeat in Congressional elections took place after many Democrats defeated Republicans by the amount of votes you could count on your fingers. This small margin reflected a change in mood on the part of the American people largely as a result of Bush's foreign policies. What's more, between now and the 2008 elections, Bush will inevitably suffer even more military and foreign policy defeats, because his domestic support - along with the neoconservatives he was once surrounded by - is gone.
The greatest and most painful defeat for any leader is the fall from grace before his people; it is then that all the glory that he thought he had achieved flys off like dust in the wind.