Just how desperate and pathetic are the Republicans' mid-term campaign antics?
George W. Bush is disgracing the honor of the White House by claiming his political party's loss will be a "win" for terrorists.
John McCain is betraying his supposed commitment to civil discourse by distorting John Kerry's recent remarks on Iraq.
George Allen is overseeing a campaign that attacked and tackled one of his constituents yesterday for asking a question at a public event.
These craven outburst are united by one theme: fear. But this time, it's not the voters who are rattled. The Republican politicians are afraid.
The party that has long specialized in scaring voters suddenly finds itself racked with fear. Republican leaders are afraid of losing power; afraid their tricks aren't working; and afraid the elections may offer more than a political setback - but a full-scale rejection of the conservative philosophy that has so thoroughly failed America in these critical times.
Of course, it doesn't take much to see past the shrill bluster. Republicans can talk like they're on offense, but their campaigns are playing defense. They are down in the polls. Bush's approval is stuck in the 30s, and Cheney's approval is in the low 20s. And what is Cheney doing this week? The White House is flying him to campaign in Colorado's 5th Congressional District, which was supposed to be a safe Republican seat, having reelected Bush by over 60 percent. But Cheney will be there playing defense because Colorado conservatives have serious doubts about today's Republican Party.
They're taking a close look at Democratic candidate Jay Fawcett, a Gulf War veteran and political newcomer who has defied the political odds by turning a red district into a tight race. A few days ago, Fawcett called me to offer an update on the race, (since I've blogged about it before). The Cheney visit was clear proof, Fawcett explained, of his campaign's success. He thinks voters are embracing his basic campaign promises to change the course in Iraq, uphold the Constitution and "get things done" in Washington. Fawcett believes the five military bases in the district help his foreign policy platform, because knowledgeable, local voters "understand [military] strategy" and the importance of "setting clear objectives" in war, which the Republicans have failed to do in Iraq.
Fawcett is just one of many honorable, fighting Democrats that have Republicans running scared. The Democrats obviously have the stronger field position, so voters can expect a lot more fearful, desperate outbursts from Republican leaders in the campaign's final days. Perhaps it is a fitting closing to the campaign. A final burst of lying, hypocrisy, intimidation and demagoguery may reinforce the stinging disapproval Americans already feel for George W. Bush, the Republican Congress and the Iraq war.
UPDATE: Matt Stoller has a great post today on strong responses to desperate Republican attacks.