In the current issue of the Atlantic, writer Ross Douthat makes a compelling argument that while President Bush may leave office a loser, his philosophy will go forward in the Republican Party. That should make some GOPers squirm.
The writer concedes all the mistakes Bush has made, his dismal numbers in the polls, and his lame-duck status for the next 23 months.
However, he points to the fact that the leading GOP candidates for president support him in the war, go along with increased federal spending while calling for fiscal restraint, and, most important, are wooing evangelical Christian voters. That's Bushism, in his word.
All of this is transpiring while only one candidate, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, has realistic ties to the right-wing Christians. And he is opposed to the president's so-called surge, separating himself on that key issue. The catch is that Brownback is only a long shot, if that.
Then Douthat delivers the knockout punch. He acknowledges that public outrage over the war could sink Bushism and the party. In my view, this is a distinct possibility.
Recent polls indicate a dramatic shift of independent voters toward Democrats when pressed to take sides. That shift helped Democratic candidates win a majority in Congress in November.
But the swing could be so strong that many Republicans up for re-election in 2008 should be sweating profusely.
It is almost certain that a large number of U.S. troops will still be in Iraq next year. The presidential race gets in full swing early with caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
Bush has ignored the voters' clear message sent three months ago. He could be poised to take his party down with him when he retires to Crawford, Texas, in 2009.
He's been warned.