After enlarging their majority in the past two elections, House Republicans have begun to fear that public attention to members' travel and relations with lobbyists will make ethics a potent issue that could cost the party seats in next year's midterm races.
In what Republican strategists call "the DeLay effect," questions plaguing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) are starting to hurt his fellow party members, who are facing news coverage of their own trips and use of relatives on their campaign payrolls. Liberal interest groups have begun running advertising in districts where Republicans may be in trouble, trying to tie the incumbents to their leaders' troubles.
The article names specific Republicans in danger -- Bob Ney of Ohio, Richard Pombo of California, Tom Feeney of Florida, and Charles Taylor of North Carolina and quotes GOP officials as saying they will likely lose seats in the House in the midterm elections.
Pair that with this news about Bush's latest polling (also from the WaPo via the Chronic):
A clear majority of Americans say President Bush is ignoring the public's concerns and instead has become distracted by issues that most people say they care little about, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey found that 58 percent of those interviewed said Bush is mainly concentrating in his second term on problems and partisan squabbles that these respondents said were unimportant to them ...
Ominously for Bush and the Republicans, a strong majority of self-described political independents — 68 percent — say they disagreed with the president's priorities.
That suggests Bush's mixed record in the second term on issues the public views as critical, particularly on Iraq and the economy, may be as much a liability for GOP candidates in next year's midterm election as his performance in his first term was an asset to Republican congressional hopefuls last year and in 2002.
Currently, 52 percent of the public disapproves of the job Bush is doing as president.
This is the first time in his presidency that more than half of the public has expressed negative views of the president's performance.
It appears the tide may be turning. Trend or mirage?