I'VE BEEN SAYING FOR A LONG TIME that Bush is vulnerable in 2004, regardless of how confident the GOP seems to feel. (Here's an old post on that, but just enter the words bush and vulnerable in the search window to see a lot more). Now Tacitus is weighing in. Even this, rather optimistic charting shows Bush trending downward. I think that's because the big-spending, "compassionate conservative" stuff is alienating more conservatives and libertarians than it is winning over undecideds.
Projecting the 2004 elections based on today's polls is a fool's game -- you'd think that Iowa would have taught people how volatile polls are -- but that doesn't mean that Bush's people should be overly confident. And as for those Bush/Churchill analogies, remember what happened to Churchill the minute people felt safe.
UPDATE: Reader Carole Newton sends this, which is typical of quite a few emails that I got in response to this post:
Bush, Rove et al thought that to keep the GOP conservatives happy, all they had to do was cut taxes and support and pass a bill against "partial-birth" abortions. Wrong. With the outlandish spending by a GOP-controlled Congress, the stupid and costly prescription drug bill, the over-reaching No Child Left Behind Education Act and the immigration proposal (no matter how they try to spin it, their proposal is amnesty for illegal aliens), they have lost a very considerable number of Republican voters like me.
I have voted Republican all my voting life (I am 60 years old) and I can tell you emphatically that I will not be voting at all for the first time. I certainly will never vote for a Democrat and Bush has morphed into a Democrat as far as I am concerned. The Powers-That-Be in the Republican Party know this about their "base" but are ignoring it, much to the peril of George W. Bush in November 2004.
A non-trivial number of people are saying this. Most of 'em will probably wind up holding their nose and voting for Bush in November. But not all.
MORE: Another reader writes:
As a Republican, I welcome all hard core conservatives who are so disgustedto not vote for Bush. And if he loses, I also welcome them to recuse themselves TOTALLY from the political discussion over the next 4 years, especially when Pres. Kerry gets to nominate 1 or more members of the SCOTUS. Because if that happens, they have themselves to blame, nobody else.
They better learn the lesson that the Nader Democrats learned last election-half a loaf is better than none. Time for them to get their priorities straight. The potential SCOTUS openings should trump all other considerations for them. If they want to mount pressure, they're best off doing it in the Senate, where a key vote can make a crucial difference...
I expect we'll hear this debate for several months.
STILL MORE: Reader Roscoe Shrewsbury emails: "You should have written, 'It's the immigration, stupid'."
Hmm. Well, maybe. That's not what my email suggests, but I'm sure it's not a scientific sampling. I haven't seen any polls on that. Has anyone?
MORE YET: Bill Peschel sends this link to a poll suggesting that immigration isn't a big issue with very many voters.