I haven't gone through all of the coverage of the latest Republican debate, but in the few quick glances I have had, not one news source has suggested that the GOP nominee would have to fight against President Bush's negative image.
Let's compare that to 2000. When Al Gore was running there was the widespread belief that he would need to distance himself from President Clinton in order to win. The conventional wisdom was that the country was suffering from 'Clinton fatigue' and the American people were sick of his administration. What was the rationale for this belief? With impressive approval ratings, our strong economy and equally strong international reputation, there was nothing to base this belief on.
In tonight's debate, there was little talk about how the candidates could rehab the GOP image. No one, to my mind, brought up the fact that the current Republican president is wildly unpopular. Instead, the real question was, how fast can you run towards G.W.B. Contrary to all available evidence, the GOP candidates are trying their damnedest to be the next President Bush.
I have only one thing to say in response. Thank you.