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It's a Good Time To Be An Ass

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While the remaining Republican candidates converged on Simi Valley yesterday to debate who was most like Ronald Reagan and the two Democratic candidates still standing in the race meet in Los Angeles later today to hash out who is most unlike Reagan, other political news sent shock waves through Washington D.C. that did not portend well for the Grand Ol' Party.

Congressman Tom Davis, a Republican who represents the suburban 11th District of Virginia, said he wold not seek re-election to the House after seven years on the job. Davis joins a growing list of Republicans who are casualties of a nation that seems to be tilting left (or at least blue) in the wake of an electorate that has no confidence in its President or his party.

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How bad is it? The President has an approval rating that would freeze water, approval ratings for Congressional Republicans has dropped to 26 percent and consumer confidence is at its lowest point in more than five years.

Such an unpopular Commander-in-Chief (who is vying not to be the most unpopular head of state since Jimmy Carter left office) has candidates from his own party claiming the mantle of change, as we have seen from both Obama and Clinton.

The ripple down effect has affected the Republican party in ways known (when the Democrats captured both the House and Senate last year) and unknown (the Dems could still gain more Congressional seats and there is that matter of choosing a leader).

But Davis's decision not to run reinforces the perception that the Republican party is continuing its fall from grace that could be complete come November.

In his district, Democrats have either been moving in at a higher rate or Republicans are switching allegiances. Either way, the party is being supplanted, evidenced by the loss of the governor's house in 2002 and one of two Senate seats in 2006.

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And now, possibly, the 11th District:

“This is yet another blow to National Republicans and makes the Eleventh-District a top pick-up opportunity for Democrats,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. [Reuters]

While Toms Davis leaving the House is probably not because of a rising blue tide, that could be the result. The same thing can be said for at least some of the dozens of other Republicans who have joined Davis on the morbidly named Casualty List:

  • 24 Republicans and 4 Democrats have announced they will either retire or seek another office;
  • Three Republican members of Congress have completely resigned (and four died, having been replaced by members of their own party) against two Democrat resignations, and;
  • Six Senators have resigned.

The extent of the damage Bush has done to the Republican party (not to mention the country and the world) is still being played out, but one tangible piece of visible wreckage is that his party has largely deserted him.
The same could be said for Davis, whose district has largely done the same.

Picture of the Democratic Donkey located in the courtyard of Boston's Old City Hall, by wallyg, via Flickr;
Mug of Congressman Tom Davis by Drivenvia Flickr