Republicans Apathetic and Dissatisfied About 2008 Election Choices
Generally speaking, it is way too early to pay a great deal of attention to individual polls about the 2008 race and the candidates, unless you are looking to gauge the degree to which each party is looking forward to the election. Tomorrow's NYT is running its latest poll with CBS News, conducted over the weekend,which found that Republican respondents aren't happy with their candidate choices whereas Democrats are satisfied with the field they have. The poll also was noteworthy because it showed how out of the mainstream the GOP really is on a range of issues, but the overall sense after reading this story and the poll results is that Republican respondents generally are already apathetic about next year and by a large margin respondents expect the Democrats to win the White House.
I found the poll results somewhat surprising. I think Giuliani is having nothing more than his "boomlet" right now, while others in the center-left blogosphere believe that we will be facing Giuliani in 2008. I’m not sure, and had actually thought that there was a growing sense of apathy on the GOP side and a lack of enthusiasm with all of their candidates. Some of this is the natural outcome of one party being spent from eight years in power, while the other factor at play here is that Rove has constructed a GOP that is securely a minority party designed to do only one thing: support Bush at all costs. These chickens are now coming home to roost, with a midterm election that showed the power of moderates and independent voters who wanted a change in direction and a GOP too cemented in place to provide one.
It wasn't until I saw this story and poll that I saw some confirmation for my thinking that the GOP is in real trouble next year. As a whole, the GOP is bummed. They aren’t happy with their candidates, they already think the Democrats will win, and they are truly a minority party no longer able to scare the shit out of people with 9/11. Republican candidates are hostages to the war, and to supporting Bush until he leaves office, and yet the party has no new candidate who can generate his own energy and new direction to inspire a following. Since the country is overwhelmingly moderate, it creates huge openings for candidates who position themselves accordingly, instead of candidates who run out of the wings so to speak. And this is why we will see Clinton and Obama stay away from appealing too much to our base, whereas Edwards wants to seize it all for his own. As for the GOP, this is the environment where a moderate GOP candidate not tied to the Bush orthodoxy could be electable if they could squeeze through the primaries, but none of them want to separate themselves from Bush, and that is the albatross that will doom them.
I still don't think it will be Hillary, and I don't think it will be Edwards, but I would not be surprised to see Obama and Bill Richardson on the ticket at the end.