It’s hardly news that Nick Lampson is the number one target nationwide for Republicans among freshman Democrats. Lampson won with only 52% of the vote against a write-in campaign in Tom DeLay’s old district. Now, CQ Politics has posted a chart indicating that not only Lampson but also Ciro Rodriguez are vulnerable to Republican challenge. Of all the freshman Ds elected in 06, Lampson represents the district that gave Bush his biggest margin in 04 (64-35) over John Kerry; Rodriguez, facing a 57-43 Bush margin, is not far behind. And yet, if I were editing CQ, I would have tossed this chart on the floor rather than publish it. What George W. Bush did in 2004 is ancient history. His approval rating is 29%. The 04 election has about as much relevance to the 08 election as the Hundred Years War does. If circumstances don’t change (and 16 months is an eternity in politics), the Republicans are facing a terrible year nationally in 08, and Texas will not be immune. Bush is not the only problem; the state leadership will be a drag on the ticket as well. The Republicans are counting on Hillary’s nomination to save them, but their real salvation may come from the inability of the Democrats to capitalize on their opportunity.
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