Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Coattails Effect

Republicans seem to have suffered from the coattails effect this year. Bush is going down rapidly and anybody holding on to his coattails goes down with him. In Virginia the Republican candidate for the governor had Bush come in to urge the voters go to the polls. He succeeded, but with the anti-Bush crowd, it seems:

Mr. Bush's 11th-hour appearance was clearly intended to energize the loyal campaign workers who ran the Republicans' 72-hour operation, so called because it swung into motion on the final weekend of the race, to urge casual as well as dedicated Republicans to vote for Mr. Kilgore.

In a speech to thousands of Republicans at the Richmond airport on Monday night, Mr. Bush praised Mr. Kilgore as a son of rural Virginia, a man who "doesn't have a lot of fancy airs" and who is a guardian of conservative values.

"I hope you'll work hard tomorrow to call up your friends and neighbors," Mr. Bush said. "Tell them if they want good government - good, solid, sound conservative government - to put this good man in the governor's chair in Richmond."

Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, said it was a "high risk" move for Mr. Bush and Mr. Kilgore to have the president campaign in Virginia with his approval ratings low and Mr. Kilgore's ability to win in doubt. Mr. Bush's appearance, Professor Rozell said, could have caused a "countersurge" of Democrats and "angry at Bush" independent voters.

It's a Typhoid Mary thing for poor George. Or leprosy thing, if you like that one better.

But Bush's low approval ratings are not the only explanation for the poor showings of Republicans in many elections (though not all, Texas, for one, seems wedded to wingnuttery come hell or high water). The Republicans are running everything right now and they are also making a mess of that everything. It's hard not to notice and voters have finally noticed. I just hope that they stay alert for another year.