Interesting article in Salon about the falling-out of Dick Armey and Tom DeLay. Hard to believe, but I almost feel a twinge of nostalgia for Armey, puffed-up bloviating ideologue that he is. One item that caught my eye in the piece:
Armey is chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative, grass-roots, free-market advocacy organization. During travels last fall to promote his new book, "Armey's Axioms: 40 Hard-Earned Truths From Politics, Faith, and Life," the former majority leader said he found conservatives in the heartland to be discouraged by the enormous expansion of public spending and record budget deficits. "Wherever I went," Armey said, "I had people who were the natural constituency of the Republican Party say, 'Oh, the heck with it. I'll just stay home.'"
In a close presidential election, such GOP disaffection could prove decisive, he argued, a bigger factor undermining Bush than Ralph Nader might be for John Kerry. "You've got the Kerry people worried sick about the possibility that Nader might take 3 percent of their vote. But I think the Bush folks need to say, 'Well, how do we survive if 3 or 4 or 5 percent of our foundation base just decides to sit out the election?"
Echoing Armey, pollster John Zogby said he has heard the same anecdotal evidence of Republican disenchantment. "Today I'm in Austin, Texas," Zogby said in a phone interview, "and my driver said, 'I've been a Republican all my life, but I can't support him [Bush].'"
Polling data is beginning to reflect the souring mood, he said. In a survey of likely voters taken May 10-13, Zogby found that President Bush had the support of 71 percent of self-described conservatives, but 19 percent were for John Kerry. "That's really intriguing to me because the president and the administration have spent the last four years shoring up their conservative base," Zogby said. "But the tide may be going back out for them."