E.J. Dionne gets it wrong, as usual, as he takes a partisan angle on the falling poll numbers of President Bush and the Republican Congress:
All over the country, Republicans are engaged in a massive effort at rebranding, reframing and, in some cases, wholesale retreat from past positions. The surest sign that the nation is in the middle of an ideological transition is that Republicans don't want to sound like -- well, Republicans....
The current reaction is not simply to President Bush's low poll numbers. It's also a response to the failure of conservative policies and to the declining appeal of conservative rhetoric. Conservatives are trying to save themselves by offering progressive-sounding criticisms of the status quo, much as liberals offered ersatz conservative critiques two decades ago.
.... When one side starts making the other side's argument, you don't need to be a pollster to know which belief system is in the ascendancy.
Er...no, E.J. Neither you nor the Republicans really have a clue what is behind the plummeting poll numbers they are seeing. It is the fact that Republicans are retreating from traditional conservative positions that has fueled the ire of mainstream America. Note the title of this blog? Well, if I was asked in a poll, I would state that I disapprove of the President and the Republican Congress. That does not mean, however, that I am ready to embrace socialized medicine, accept an illegal immigrant in my basement, or tolerate another tax hike to pay for midnight basketball. It is the fact that Republicans, thinking a little step to the left would help them weather the nonstop blows from the media, now are frantically dancing as fast as they can all over the ideological spectrum in an attempt to please the voters that elected them based on the principles they held a mere two years back!
And President Bush has shown absolutely no interest in taking the leadership role that his party desperately needs. He's wishy-washy on gas prices (just repeat after me: supply and demand, supply and demand!), he seems to be taking the liberal tact of the helpless shoulder shrug when it comes to the Mexican border, and refuses to tout the outstanding gains the economy has made under his stewardship, allowing the Democrats and their tools in the media to fill the vaccuum with all kinds of misleading figures and doom and gloom predictions.
The Republicans may yet take a body blow in 2006, but it is not due to Mr. Dionne's smug assertion that "we are all liberals now". The conservative faithful, seeing only Democrats and Democrats Lite, may choose to sit this one out. And if the Republican party learns its lesson, they may just be able to save the White House come 2008.