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The Natives Are Getting Restless

Republican-fatigue is in the air, and not only in Washington, New York City, and Hollywood. In locales where Republicans are accustomed to respectful receptions from voters, GOP activists and officeholders are meeting deep skepticism. On a recent trip home, Rep. Mike Pence, a conservative Indiana Republican, was surprised by the amount of criticism he heard directed at President Bush and the Republican Congress. “Frankly, if the numbers in my district are this tough …, ” he said, his voice trailing off. Although Pence didn’t finish the thought, he didn’t have to. Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, where “Hoosiers” was filmed, voted for Bush over John Kerry by a whopping 64 percent to 35 percent. That Republicans are even campaigning in such districts is instructive — and Democrats have noticed. ~National Journal

Rep. Pence, God bless him, had this unfortunate quote later in the article: “We may be the party of Big Government, but they are the party of Really Big Government.” Write that one down high on the list of Campaign Themes That Doomed Their Party. I can just picture the stump speech for such a theme: “Well, of course, we have betrayed every principle we ever stood for, but just look at the other guys! Our treachery is better than their conviction any day of the week!” And Mike Pence is one of the people whom you could reasonably still call a more or less serious conservative. If he is reduced to saying things like this, it’s going to get ugly.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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