Wag The Blog: GOP Senators and the Gonzales Question
On Wednesday, Sen. John Sununu (N.H.) became the first Republican senator to call on President Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over the Justice Department's dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys last year.
It's no coincidence that Sununu is up for reelection next November in New Hampshire, a state that tossed out its two Republican congressmen in the 2006 election and went for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
Sununu knows that to win next year he must find ways to differentiate himself from President Bush and the Republican Party in the minds of voters. It's a task that faces not only Sununu but also Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.) -- all of whom will stand for reelection in states Kerry won in 2004.
The difficulty of differentiating oneself from one's party was exemplified by Sen. Lincoln Chafee's 2006 reelection bid. Although Chafee was among the least loyal of Republicans when it came to Bush's agenda (heck, he didn't even vote for President Bush in 2004), the Rhode Island senator was unable to overcome the detrimental link to his national party. He lost his bid for reelection to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D).
So, for today's Wag the Blog question, we ask Fix readers whether lawmakers like Collins, Coleman and Smith -- and perhaps other Republican senators in potential peril in 2008 -- will follow Sununu's lead in calling for Gonzales's head. And, if they do, will it accomplish the desired result of putting distance between them and their party's less-than-popular president?
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