President Bush's unpopularity and a string of political setbacks have created a toxic climate for the Republican Party, making it harder to raise money and recruit candidates for its drive to retake control of Congress.
Some of the GOP's top choices to run for the House next year have declined, citing what Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) called a "poisonous" environment. And Republicans' fundraising edge, an important advantage over the last five years, has dwindled.
With GOP clout diminished after November's election losses, the Republicans' national committee and their House and Senate campaign committees together raised the same amount as the Democrats in the first quarter of the year — and Democrats ended the period with more cash in the bank. At this point four years ago, Republicans had more than twice the money Democrats did.
"The reality is the Republican brand right now is just not a good brand," said Tim Hibbitts, an independent Oregon pollster. "For Republicans, the only way things really get better … is if somehow, some way, Iraq turns around."
Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said the party was "desperately in need of some Prozac."
"Toxic climate". "Poisonous" environment. And we're not talking global warming.
"Not a good brand". And I don't mean General Motors.
"Desperately in need of some Prozac", and we're not referring to Seung Hui Cho.
Save your Republican friends (if you care and if you can). Here are some of the danger signs of severe depressive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex