During the 2006 congressional campaign, the Democrats accused the Republicans of just being a "rubber stamp" for anything President Bush wanted to do. It was sort of amusing to me when I heard the news today that congressional Republicans in the US House of Representatives decided to "rubber stamp" themselves and keep the same leadership, even though they lost badly in the elections. President Bush's recent approval level is around 30% and the Congress still lags well behind that number. However, GOP members of the "US House" must have decided that they were not to blame for the election blow out, so they are going to stick with the same guys. There are real problems coming for the Republicans down the road because, as I wrote the other day, many GOP leaders are stuck in denial when it comes to the shift in US voter attitudes.
To my knowledge, there are at least four men already running for the Republican nomination for President in 2008 and I would not be surprised if one dozen or more announce before the primary's begin in about a year. The good news is that there are some moderate candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for President of the United States, but the 64,000 dollar question is, can they win the nomination with enough votes in the south from hard-core religious conservatives? The GOP has been cracking apart, little by little, over the past few years as fiscal conservatives have been ignored, while social conservative have been listened to exclusively. I am one of those moderate Republicans when it comes to social issues, but extremely conservative about government fiscal policy.
The GOP lead Congress has spent money like a bunch of "drunken sailors" since 911 and much of that money has nothing to do with the War in Iraq and/or the War Against Terrorism. Pet projects and Congressional Earmarks have become the way to do business under Republican leadership and with today's decision by Republican Members of the US House of Representatives, I look for more of the same from the GOP in the next two years. Supposedly, the Democratic Party got the message from the voters on November 7th about wasteful spending in Washington and they are promising fewer Earmarks and more control over wasteful spending. Let's just say I will believe that statement which I see it put into action.
There are big differences between traditional Republicans and social conservatives on many key issues and unless leaders in the GOP start using their influence in a more fair and even handed way, the entire Republican Party is going to fall apart. Traditional Republicans are for smaller government, lower taxes and against nation building. The current GOP, under President Bush's leadership, only cares about one of those three basic principles and when you look at President Bush's job approval numbers it is pretty easy to see why only 1/3 of the people agree with his job performance.