National: Republicans Deny Any Association With Bush, GOP
"This would not be a close election if George Bush was popular. This would not be a close election if there wasn't a war in Iraq," said Republican Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut. “And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle,” Shays added bitterly.
Shays was speaking from inside the trunk of his car, where he was hiding during a scheduled Bush stop-over in his district. The nervous Congressman now finds himself in a tight race with a Democrat in a district he has represented for 19 years, and is seeking to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular President.
Shays is not alone. Around the country, GOP incumbents are attempting to downplay their past support for and former associations with the President. In Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Florida, Kentucky, and New Hampshire, Republican Congressmen from districts that voted for Kerry in 2004 are denying any affiliation with the GOP or its leaders.
“The Republican what? Never heard of it,” said one GOP House Committee Chairman facing reelection this year. “No pictures,” he added, putting his hat in front of his face.
In some cases the White House is actually helping endangered Congressmen to hide their former support for White House policies. The administration has implemented a plan similar to the Federal Witness Protection Program to protect Republicans from association with their political party and the Bush team.
“The program is great, it gives you a new name, address, and makes it practically impossible for Bush to find you,” said a GOP Representative from New Jersey. “They gimme a new nose and dyed my hair. I’m goin’ nuts in dis small town, but whuddya gonna do? If I’m seen wit Bush, it’s coitins.” The program also provides GOP candidates with doctored photos which depict them giving the President “the bird,” or holding their nose while he delivers a speech.