House GOP candidates given go-ahead to run against party

Rep. Tom Cole, who chairs the NRCC, said given the GOP environment candidates should feel free to criticize their colleagues.

Published August 1, 2008 4:22PM (EDT)

During a conference call on Thursday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, encouraged some of his party's hopefuls to distance themselves from the GOP, the Hill's Jackie Kucinich reports.

"These [congressional approval] ratings are worse than we had on the eve of losing the majority," Cole said, according to the Hill. "Don't be afraid to say you are disappointed in fellow Republicans ... don't hesitate to be anti-Washington, D.C." Cole also reportedly told the candidates not to bother coming to the Republican convention in September, that it would be a "waste of time."

Obviously, this is largely yet another indicator of how bad the Republicans' chances in House and Senate elections look right now. But it's pretty common to see anti-Washington campaign themes, and it's not a bad strategy -- especially in congressional elections, since Congress is never popular -- so this probably can't be attributed solely to the Republicans' woes.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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