Monday, March 27, 2006

Derailing Thomas The Tank Engine

I have a friend whose son loves watching Thomas The Tank Engine. The storyline is easy to follow - Thomas and his hommies are train engines that always manage to go in the right direction with the help of Sir Topham Hatt, the railhouse manager.
Today I read an article in Time Magazine (3/26/06) that got me thinking about Thomas and his friends.
Not too long ago the GOP seemed to be operating in Thomas' world - with a clear sense of direction and a steady hand at the railhouse helm. But somewhere along the way their plans jumped track.
President Bush - the GOP's Sir Topham Hatt - is steering Republican trains toward certain derailment. According to Time, 3 in 5 Americans today believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Most GOP candidates, including those locked in a tough U.S. Senate primary fight in Tennessee, will have to figure out between now and Election Day how to position themselves against the backdrop of a series of Republican-engineered fiascos - the Republican ethics scandals, the GOP's failure to curb government spending, the rollout of a confusing GOP prescription drug plan for seniors, and the Republican's conflicted postures over national security and the war in Iraq.
According to the Time article, GOP candidates this year are seriously conflicted - do they run with or against the President? Imagine Thomas and his friends turning their collective cabooses on Sir Topham Hatt.
In the end GOP candidates should not expect voters in their own party - much less Independent/swing voters - to climb aboard their campaign trains if all they have have to offer are the failed principles and policies of their own party's railhouse manager.