In an interview with the New York Times published today, former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) suggested that any gains Republicans make in Congress as a result of tomorrow’s midterm elections won’t have much to do with the GOP. “The looming victories for Republican candidates next Tuesday is not a validation of the Republican Party at all,” he said.
When host George Stephanopoulos asked RNC chair Michael Steele on ABC’s Good Morning America today whether Bush’s analysis is correct, Steele responded affirmatively:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even Jeb Bush, son of the former president, had a pretty startling comment in the New York Times this morning. He said “tomorrow’s results will not be a validation of the Republican party at all.” Is he right?
STEELE: I think there’s some degree of truth to that. … I think there is a degree of truth to that. I think the American people right now are much more skeptical of the direction that the President and Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are taking the country but they also have some concerns about the direction that Republicans will then lead when we take control of the Congress in 2011.
Steele’s view has been affirmed by GOP leadership. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who said last week that his goal for the next Congress is to defeat President Obama in 2012 — noted today that Republicans “need to view this [election] with humility and gratitude. This is not about us…there is no poll data showing the public is in love with us.”
Indeed, the staggering economy appears to be the GOP’s best friend this election cycle because the Party is not only bereft of any new ideas but offers no real solutions for the country’s economic problems. Republicans have campaigned on cutting spending and reducing the deficit but can’t identify any specific spending that should be cut. They want to give costly tax breaks for the rich without offering any idea of how to pay for them or denying that they even have to be offset. Instead, when asked how they would fix the economy and create jobs, many GOPers simply retreat to the Party mantra: “tax cuts.”