The National Review gives a compelling and eloquent statement about why it will not support GWB in this election:
It is one thing to swallow doubts and support the Republican candidate when he is a blur making amiable noises and there is the possibility of pleasant surprise. That is what many voters--and this journal--did in supporting George W. Bush in 2000. But when that candidate has confirmed all those doubts, to vote for him a second time is an act of political decadence. It is a ratification of failure that betrays both conservative principles and the principle of accountability. It is a message from us as conservatives to the rest of the political community that the damage done under our banner has our blessing. More urgently, it is a message from us as citizens to those who would rule over us that we can be taken in by words and gesture; that we won't measure a politician's record against objective standards or his own promises.
George W. Bush has met almost every challenge of his presidency by concentrating on the manipulation of imagery. In raising hokum to a new level of audacity and sophistication, he has relied shamelessly on the voters' short memories, on their failure to connect word and deed (let alone deed and result)...Now Bush and his advisers are using every illusion in their corpus of legerdemain to avoid running on the record they have compiled. His television commercials, and indeed his whole campaign self-presentation, are simply images of presidentiality. The Bush people know that their record of accomplishments is indefensible.
In 2000, Bush styled himself the artless outsider, uncorrupted by Washington and its evil habits. This year, in a typically brazen transformation, he is Mr. Experience, a worldly statesman in a job for which anything less than incumbency is inadequate qualification. But Bush is not the only one who's experienced his presidency for the past four years. So have his constituents. It's time to show that we've learned from experience.
Oh wait, that's not The National Review! That's The New Republic writing on why it refused to endorse Jimmy Carter back in 1980! (Just replace "conservative" with "liberal," "2000" with "1976," "Bush" with "Carter" etc etc). Silly me. What a careless mistake.
UPDATE: I'm not saying GWB is the next incarnation of Jimmy Carter. Obviously they are very different in temperament as well as policy. I'm just pointing out a) That The New Republic has an admirable non-partisan streak to it and b) That Liberals were more willing to apply the standards of accountability and holding a candidate to his record than conservatives are this year.