Bush and his backup
A few days ago I wondered:
But do most Republicans think that Bush has been better than a replacement level Republican President, or are they just choosing him because he's the incumbent? I'm genuinely curious about that question, although I don't expect many people who want Bush to be reelected to come out and say in the midst of the campaign that he is worse than a replacement level Republican.
Though I have not received any direct answers to my question, the response has been better than expected. I haven't heard from any Republicans on the general question of how Bush compares to a replacement level Republican President, but there is a lot of chatter out there among Republicans about how Bush's particular backup is better than the starter. Conservative David Franke's response to yesterday's debate, for instance, was:
Let’s reverse our two party’s slates! Let’s vote for vice president, not president. Both vice presidential candidates tonight proved themselves immeasurably more literate, thoughtful, and competent on the issues than the head of their tickets.
Two qualifications on Franke's statement, though. First, I don't trust his analysis of the candidates of the party that he doesn't care for. Second, we don't really know how playing time has been divided between the starter and the backup during the first season of Bush-Cheney, and it is questionable whether a reversal of their official roles would cause much of a change in the team's performance next season.