"Bush is in deep trouble"


Mark Follman
January 28, 2004 10:11AM (UTC)

While everyone's focused on the Democrats, it's worth looking at what Republicans are saying about New Hampshire. And Andrew Sullivan, at least, sees trouble in the results for President Bush. In recent weeks, Sullivan has minced no words about his growing displeasure with Bush, particularly over the gay marriage issue, since Bush signaled to the hard right in last week's State of the Union address that he'd take the fight to "defend the sanctity of marriage" all the way to the U.S. Constitution if necessary. But Sullivan, who not long ago vigorously backed Bush on foreign policy, turned up the volume sharply Tuesday night: "Bush is in deep trouble," he lamented on his blog, the Daily Dish. His rising anxiety about the election stems from a litany of issues:

"The huge turn-out in New Hampshire; the electability factor for Kerry; the passion of the Dean people: all this shows how thoroughly energized the Democrats are to win back the White House. Bush is in the Rove-Cheney cocoon right now. From the [State of the Union address], it looks like he's going to run on 9/11. Bad, backward-looking idea. His coalition is fracturing; his reach out to Hispanics seems to have hurt him more with the base than won him new votes; his spending has independents deeply concerned; Iraq is still a wild card; prescription drugs pandering hasn't swayed any seniors; the religious right wants him to attack gay couples in the Constitution -- which will lose him the center. More worrying: I'm not sure he even knows he's in trouble."

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For Sullivan, clearly the gay marriage issue is personal. But with polls already showing the nation divided about the upcoming election, his deep dissatisfaction might forecast wider problems for Bush among moderate Republicans and key swing voters. If his anxious chatter today is any indication, Sullivan may watch the Democratic primary race with continuing interest -- to decide who he'll be voting for come November.


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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