From USA TODAY:
WASHINGTON — Many Democratic candidates are planning to run against two Republicans in the next election — their GOP opponent and former president George W. Bush.
When former U.S. attorney Chris Christie, a Bush appointee, won the Republican nomination for governor of New Jersey last week, Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine welcomed him to the race by attacking his former boss.
“I’m not about to put my trust in the same people who gave us George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or John Ashcroft,” Corzine said, throwing in Bush’s vice president and first attorney general for good measure.
Original DVD cover.
(from lower left, clockwise: Rob Simmons, Chris Christie, Chimpy, Rob Portman, Roy Blunt)
Other Democratic candidates will likely bash Bush throughout the 2010 election season, predicts Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of a non-partisan political newsletter.
Possible Democratic targets with Bush ties include:
• Former budget director Rob Portman of Ohio, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat.
• Republican Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a key Bush ally in legislative battles, also running for the Senate.
• Former Republican congressman Rob Simmons, who is challenging Sen. Chris Dodd in Connecticut.
Simmons says he is not worried about being linked to Bush: “That’s not only yesterday’s news, that’s history.” Simmons contends that Bush-era deficits are projected to explode on Obama’s watch. “People are worried about the future,” he says.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says her candidates should make the Bush administration an issue because voters still blame it for economic and foreign policy problems.
Democratic Party spokesman Hari Sevugan says Bush’s continued prominence reflects a “vacuum of leadership” in the Republican Party, one that is filled by Bush-era Cheney and talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
There’s just one problem with the anti-Bush strategy, GOP pollster Whit Ayres says. It is Obama’s agenda that will serve as a referendum for the 2009 and 2010 elections
Bush’s popularity remains low nationwide. The former president had a 35% favorable rating in an April survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press; 60% gave him an unfavorable review. Moving forward, Republican candidates need to help create a new image for their party “or they risk being defined as the party of the Bush years,” says Michael Dimock, associate director at Pew.
Independent political analyst Jennifer Duffy says running against Bush could well work for Democrats in the short term by rallying Democrats and wooing independents.