In recent months polls have found new lows for Republican candidates participating in mid-term elections. Most of this is fueled by dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, the economy and the “mistakes” of Katrina last summer. World events appear to be adding to Republican woes as well.

Item: President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela calls President Bush “the devil”.

Item: the Pope proves he is not infallible by making a huge gaffe during a recent speech where by quoting a medieval text he implied Islam was a violent religion, the response from extremists was a re-commitment to the destruction of its enemies. The US as a Christian nation is then guilty by association.

Item: the New York Times recently reported that a classified government intelligence report asserts the Iraq war has only fueled more terrorism and anti-American sentiment. The Iraq war, with its strike-first strategy, has had many different goals over the years, but the Bush administration has always kept true to the the idea that a victory in Iraq would help remove the terrorist threat.

Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, has an even more disturbing theory. The current Iran standoff over nuclear weapons is a direct result of the Iraq war. Ms. Cliff suggested this on a recent PBS airing of The McGlaughlin Group. The logic goes that countries on Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ list felt the reason the US invaded Iraq and not North Korea was only due to the absence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. Therefore, countries on our list (that is, countries not “with us”) feel a need to quickly acquire nuclear weapons in order to avoid a US attack.

So the US invasion of Iraq has made us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack & has emboldened our enemies to pursue nuclear weapons.

Back to the November elections, the question then is what clever turn-a-phrase can Republicans use to make their failed Iraq policy palpable to voters? More to the point, what distraction will they employ? After an early spring go-nowhere smokescreen to blame immigrants for our economic problems, it appears Republicans have returned to their tried and true formula of fear mongering.

Here are just a couple of examples of where Republicans are trying to scare us into voting for them:

In Indiana Republican Rep. John Hostettler is running radio ads that suggest a Democratic controlled Congress would work to advance a “homosexual agenda.” The ad, which links his opponent Sheriff Brad Ellsworth to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, ends “Go ahead, vote for Brad Ellsworth. Make Nancy Pelosi's day.”

After attempts to use the terrorist threat to scare voters did little for his approval rating, the president has also decided to use the threat of gay marriage. Soon after a NJ Supreme Court nod to gay marriage was announced, Mr. Bush returned to using the issue of “activist” judges in his speeches and defending marriage as a “fundamental institution of our civilization”, that is between a man and a woman.

Even CNN talk show host Glenn Beck is helping scare the Republican base. In a recently aired episode of the aptly named show Glenn Beck, Mr. Beck discusses the ramifications of a Democratic controlled Congress. His strongest argument for voting Republican was simply so that the country may avoid the chaos and mess that might emerge from a new leadership and majority. Mr. Beck insisted that terrorists would be at an advantage while the nation's attention was diverted to ethics investigations or a possible presidential impeachment.

However, despite it's enormous success over the past 12 years, it appears the Republican formula of fear mongering and gay baiting has finally lost its punch. On October 27th the Rothenberg Political Report predicted Democratic gains of 4-7 seats in the Senate, where the Democrats need to net six seats for a majority. And nearly all political analysis indicates a Democratic majority in the House after the November elections. In fact election analysis by the Rothenberg Political Reports suggests as many as 60 Republican seats may be lost this year.

Mr. Bush, sorry about your friends.