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« Quotational Therapy: Part 83 -- President Bush, On Not FearingThe Future. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 303 -- The Saddam Trial. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 302 -- Congressional Republicans Distancing Themselves From Party Base.

Asserting Independence, But From Whom?-

Historically, even popular, successful U.S. Presidents have lost substantial numbers of Congressional allies during midterm elections:


And members of Congress understand this. So they try to distance themselves from sitting Presidents, even popular ones.

It makes sense as a strategy, if your primary goal is to get reelected.

Meanwhile, some in Congress are actively, if unofficially, campaigning for the presidency.

So, this being the midterm year of President Bush's second and final term, you have various members of the GOP asserting their independence on all sorts of issues in an attempt to cover their behinds at the polls this November.

But many of these folks are entirely oblivious to the fact that, in the process of distancing themselves from President Bush, they are really just distancing themselves from the Republican base.

And they are also forgetting recent history and ignoring overriding trends. In 2002, Republicans added 8 seats in the House; in 2004, Republicans added 3 more. Shifts today are small, because the number of competitive districts is small.

At the same time, with the power of incumbency as great as it as ever been, just 24 House members have announced plans to step aside (the smallest number since 1966). 24 open seats means the turnover in Congress will be slim this year.

And Bush is still popular where Bush was popular to begin with (in Bush Country). Anecdotally, pro-Bush Democrat Henry Cuellar beat back far-left Ciro Rodriguez in the Texas District 28 primary race just last week. District 28, a heavily Latino district, is a safe seat for Congressional Democrats. But it also went for Bush in 2004. Cuellar's closeness with President Bush was not a liability with primary voters in District 28, as Cuellar extended his victory from the last go-around.

Had Cuellar lost, it would have been heralded as a harbinger of November's looming Bush-backlash. Since he won, not a peep from the national media.

Unfortunately, in trying to beat the "6 Year Itch," some history-conscious Congressional Republicans are alienating not President Bush but Republican voters themselves.

It's almost as if some GOP members of Congress are doing their best, unknowingly, to produce the exact results they are trying their level best to prevent, knowingly.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: A Conservative Future.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 March 2006 11:15 AM


Posted by: james at March 20, 2006 11:40 AM

Thanks for this post. I am apparently not the only person who thinks this and still cannot figure out what the Congressional Republicans are up to. Bailing on the President during the Dubai Port 'Hysteria' did not go down will with me.

They essentially sided with Biden, Clinton, and all the extremist Democrats. If that's they way they want to act, I might as well vote for the Democrats since they want to do this crap, unlike the Republicans who are acting like this in some misguided attempt to keep their seats.

Posted by: Fred Fry at March 20, 2006 05:56 PM