From Washington Monthly:
The NYT poll found that three-quarters of Americans believe the
president has been trying to work with Republicans, but only 3 in 10 said
Republicans were doing the same. Indeed, 63% of poll respondents said Republican
opposition to the stimulus package was about politics, not policy, and 79% said
Republicans should give up on its agenda and start working more with
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed
similar results. The president enjoys a 68% approval rating;
congressional Democrats have 50% support, and congressional Republicans' rating is just 38%.
Now, I'll grant you that Steele is listening to Reince Priebus, a guy who knows as much as anyone about losing statewide races, but it seems that threatening to run newcomers against successful party members in a time when even minor victories should be counted as victories is counterproductive.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says that he
might support primary challengers against the three GOP senators who voted in
favor of the stimulus package.
Asked if he was open to the move during an interview Monday on Fox
News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” Steele said, “Oh, yes, I’m always open to
everything, baby, absolutely.”
Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Arlen
Specter (Pa.) all voted in favor of the stimulus plan after much haggling with
Senate Democrats and the White House. Many conservatives have attacked the
senators for their votes. Specter is the only one of the three who is up for
reelection in 2010. Steele said that he would not defend the trio against
conservative criticism back home.
“My retribution is the retribution of the voters in their states,” he
said. “They’re going to have to go through a primary in which they’re going to
have to explain to those Republican voters in that primary their vote.”
Steele promised the party faithful that he'd steer to the right and he seems to be doing just that. Now he needs to understand the Bell Curve and the rarefied air he's steering it toward.