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GOP fears Bush's poll numbers, but still loves his money

The more things change…?

President Bush’s approval rating has been mired in the mid-30’s for some time now, and Republican members of Congress who previously clung to his side whenever they could are now starting to avoid him at all costs.

Well, maybe not at all costs. Because even though most GOP Representatives and Senators are now declining to join the President when he visits their state to make policy speeches – who would want to spend the following several days defending the war in Iraq or the sale of our ports to a Dubai-owned company? – they DO seem more than willing to have Bush (and the even more unpopular Cheney) come raise millions in campaign cash for them.

As the AP details, Bush is the most aggressive fundraiser-in-chief in U.S. history. Having raised $140 million for Congressional candidates in the 2002 and 2004 elections, he has already raised $88 million for his party’s candidates at 26 events in 2005 and 2006. (And the VEEP ponied up by headlining 47 fundraisers in the same period that brought in $16.6 million.)

Amusingly, this "fear the policy, love the money" connundrum has the GOPers in more contortions than a game of Twister. New Jersey GOP senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr., for instance, managed to show up a fundraiser for his campaign hosted by Dick Cheney – 15 minutes after the Vice-President had left. (He claimed that he got caught in traffic. Did the dog also eat his speech notes?)

What isn’t so clear is what policies these Republican candidates will promote if (re)elected. Is it too cyncial to expect, as the old adage says, that they will continue to dance with those that brought ’em…?

-Gordon Clark