A CURE FOR NON-WINGNUT RIGHT-WING PUNDITS' ANGST
Andrew Sullivan is stressing:
The 20 percent or so of Americans who still think we're winning in Iraq happen to be the Republican base. And so the GOP in Congress has to pick between surviving their own primaries, maintaining civility with their own faithful, and potentially getting wiped out in the next election. The game of chicken is getting very intense. I guess we'll know how strong the kool-aid is by September.
So is David Brooks:
... there has been a clear shift, in poll after poll, away from Republican positions on social issues and on attitudes toward government. Democratic approaches are favored on almost all domestic, tax and fiscal issues, and even on foreign affairs.
The public, in short, wants change.
And yet the Republicans refuse to offer that. On Capitol Hill, there is a strange passivity in Republican ranks. Republicans are privately disgusted with how President Bush has led their party and the nation, but they don't publicly offer any alternatives. They just follow sullenly along....
They are like people quietly marching to their doom.
Hey guys, you want this situation to change?
Then tell your colleagues in the press, the Broders and the Dowds and the Matthewses, to stop describing Democrats as out-of-touch wacko extremist freaks, as traitors and sissy-boys, and to stop insisting that it's Republicans who always have their fingers on the pulse of the country.
Why are Republicans still blindly following the president? Because the media keeps implying that, regardless of any signs of disaffection, America really wants (or should want) Republicans to run things forever -- because Pelosi and Reid are traitors, Hillary Clinton's a phony, and John Edwards is a big girl, while McCain and Giuliani and Fred Thompson are admirable tough guys with the right stuff.
Republicans read this and believe the situation isn't necessarily hopeless. Republicans look at the polls of head-to-head presidential matchups for '08 -- which show named Republicans beating named Democrats largely as a result of this media blather -- and they really believe the situation isn't necessarily hopeless.
Republicans aren't going to stop being Bush end-timers until the press stops saying that Democrats are all a bunch of wackos. So, Andy, Davy, if you're fretful, tell your pals in the media to stop feeding us this malarkey.
(Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report has a very different take on all this.)