Via the AP:
Republican Party leaders said the survey explains why GOP lawmakers are rushing to distance themselves from Bush on a range of issues — port security, immigration, spending, warrantless eavesdropping and trade, for example.
The positioning is most intense among Republicans facing election in November and those considering 2008 presidential campaigns.
Granted, the writer never really quotes any Republican Party leaders saying these things, but assuming that it is a proper reflection of their sentiments, what exactly does this say to the idea that Republicans aren’t poll-driven and instead base their positions on strong principles? I mean sure, that idea was always absurd, but doesn’t this just make it totally obvious? That Republicans stood behind Bush when polls said that Bush was popular and had a popular agenda; and that they’ll abandon him when the going gets rough? Could this be the demise of the I’m With Bush Party?
And then there’s this:
Stung by criticism, senior officials at the White House and the RNC are reminding GOP members of Congress that Bush's approval ratings may be low, but theirs is lower and have declined at the same pace as Bush's. The message to GOP lawmakers is that criticizing the president weakens him — and them — politically.
"When issue like the internal Republican debate over the ports dominates the news it puts us another day away from all of us figuring out what policies we need to win," said Terry Nelson, a Republican consultant and political director for Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.
That’s right. The Whitehouse is apparently telling GOP Congressmen to shut the hell up, for the good of the party. That Congress should set aside national security concerns and their own constituents’ desires, so that the Republicans can win. Not that there’s anything new with that, except that Congress was far more willing to go along with it back when Bush was popular. But now that he’s unpopular, they seem to have a different idea of what it takes to win. But that really is what it’s all about. It’s not about doing the right thing, or serving our country, or representing citizens’ interests. It’s about winning. And ironically, the reason they’re so good at winning is the very reason they should not be allowed to govern. And perhaps it’s equally ironic that this will likely lead to their eventual loss.