Pocketbook Politics

Faltering economy may lead voters to decide they really do need change

among Republican leaders. He says, “Nobody wants to talk about it, but there’s a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party taking place among their leadership. They’re in disarray and everybody’s fighting about who’s going to lead them out of the wilderness that they find themselves in. I think this affected the bailout vote as much as anything else.”

Republicans may also find it difficult to separate themselves from the wildly unpopular president. The economy’s current state only reinforces in voters’ minds the notion of what Democrats like to call eight years of failed economic policies.

“If you’re a Republican running in this environment, you’ll have a real tough time justifying and explaining a record of rubber-stamping Bush’s economic agenda. That will be a tough hurdle for them to jump over in this election,” says DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell. “At the end of the day, this is the party of George W. Bush and now, to some extent, John McCain, and they see eye-to-eye on many of the policies that helped drive this economy into the ditch. I think the American people have made it clear that they don’t want to move in the same direction.”

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