Polls show that Democrat Barack Obama is leading in battleground states, including some -- such as Ohio -- carried by George W. Bush not once but twice.
But even before the election is over -- and despite the fact that some polls show a tightening race -- Republicans are piling on their own presidential candidate, John McCain, accusing him of deserting principle.
Some moderate Republicans think McCain has sold his soul to the right, abandoning the bipartisan record he built on immigration and other issues. "He has lost his brand as a maverick," said Rep. Chris Shays, the last Republican congressman in New England, in a tight race in Connecticut again this year.
But conservatives are also angry at McCain and Bush, for mucking up governance so much that a Barack Obama is even possible. Dave Gibson, a 41-year-old independent from Norfolk, Va., summed it up in one word: debt.
In a post on American Chronicle, he wrote:
Under Bush's leadership, the national debt went from $5 trillion in 2001 to $10.5 trillion today. The doubling of our debt has had a devastating effect on our economy and our currency is quickly becoming worthless. Always happy to spend more money, rather than raising taxes Bush simply goes to China or Japan and borrows more. That kind of irresponsible behavior has brought this nation to the brink of a depression and destroys any notion of fiscal conservatism, once a trademark of the Republican Party.
Ouch. As for McCain, Gibson notes his and the president's support for a comprehensive immigration bill that would grandfather in an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. In an e-mail, he said he plans to vote for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. "Many of us have grown weary of the politics of appeasement practiced by both Bush and McCain," he said. "As a result, we've stopped caring about this election long ago, when it became [clear] that there would actually be two liberals running for president in 2008."
Gibson is an iconoclast, a blogger. But more famous Republicans have also weighed in.
David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, wrote in the Washington Post recently that McCain's selection of Sarah Palin energized the base but turned off women and independents. In an article called "Sorry, Senator. Let's Salvage What We Can," he wrote that in picking Palin, McCain lost "the great national middle, which was the only place where the 2008 election could have been won."
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