Not Running Against Bush

Ruffini argues:

President Bush is a lame duck. His term expires in eight months. Politically speaking, John McCain is the leader of the party. Bush’s term will overlap that of the 111th Congress by a whopping 17 days. Why should Republican Congressional candidates take the bait by positioning themselves vis a vis someone who will be a political non-factor once they take office? If they embrace President Bush, it’s political poison. If they make a fuss of distancing themselves, it guarantees headlines with Candidate X and Bush in close proximity, and looks politically motivated. Don’t take the bait.

The challenge for Republicans is not to support Bush or to reject Bush but to transcend Bush. We are quickly nearing the point where the last piece of meaningful legislation will cross this President’s desk. To suggest that Republicans might want to get around to crafting a post-Bush agenda ignores the fact that the post-Bush era is already upon us. It began March 4, when John McCain secured 1,191 delegates. Start acting like it. John McCain is the only national Republican local Republicans should be talking about.

It's good advice, but the voters will nonetheless find it hard to erase eight years of Republican governance when they approach the next GOP candidate. Bush is the reality they have to run with. He's certainly the reality Obama will be running against.