Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brand damage

Republicans are starting to realize that the policy blunders of Team Bush and the GOP Establishment have badly hurt the party's image:
They said the first was an outlier. The second, a fluke. But after losing their third seat this year in a special election, House Republicans faced the possibility on Wednesday that if they don't repair their image with voters, they could be in for another rough November.
Understatement of the year!
A Democratic pick-up streak that started with Rep. Bill Foster's upset victory in the March election to replace former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) crested Tuesday night, when Democrat Travis Childers won a solidly Republican open seat in Mississippi.
The GOP spent one-fifth of its available national party cash for House races on the Mississippi seat. Vice President Dick Cheney campaigned there. President George W. Bush and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain pitched in with automated phone calls. Their candidate lost anyway. Meanwhile, reeling House Republicans unveiled a new slogan this week --"Change you deserve" -- only to watch Democrats gleefully note that it is already used to market an antidepressant.
Several House Republicans say the losses reveal a voter disconnect with their party, rooted in dissatisfaction with Bush, which GOP candidates will have to repair district-by-district this fall. Some, including McCain and several members of the Illinois congressional delegation, appear to believe that to "re-brand" the Republican Party, they must first distance themselves from it.
In six months time, there will be a smoldering crater where the Republican Party used to be. The GOP is heading for one of its worst years since 1974. And the blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of Team Bush. This administration has been a political failure, and it's time this failure was acknowledged.

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