That sound you hear is the stampede of Republicans running like hell from George W. Bush.

The GOP faithful head for the exits, finally aware that close association with the President and his failed Presidency could spell doom for them in the midterm elections next year.

Conservatives lead the rats off the sinking ship. They’ve had enough to Bush’s big-spending, budget-busting antics.

“Conservatives have long been worried about federal finances,” says Republican Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida. “Now that worry is turning into frustration and anger.”

Republicans who joined in the frenzy to approve record amounts of aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina now realize they gave Bush a blank check without any notion of how he intends to pay the bill.

“It would be nice if he would at least give us some idea of how he intends to finance Gulf Coast rebuilding,” says Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana.

“Vision is lacking,” says GOP Senator Ralph Voinovich of Ohio. “We’re floundering.”

Republican strategists complain that GOP dissatisfaction with Bush is reaching epidemic proportions. Senior Republicans admit privately they expect to see some GOP candidates distance themselves from Bush.

“There are so many Bush naysayers because of Iraq, there’s a piling on effect going on,” complains Republican consultant Chris Depino of New Haven, Conn.

Bush’s troubles, of course, leave Democrats gleefully hoping to gain seats in Congress during the midterm elections and possibly take the White House back in 2008.

Just ask Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic campaign committee: “I think there’s a lot of anger and we’re gaining because of that. We could blow it. They can gain ground they’ve lost, but there’s a big shift going on.”

While anger over the Iraq war contributed to the growing dissatisfaction with Bush, it was the Katrina FUBAR that pushed most over the edge.

“The breaking of the Bush spell opens the way for leaders of both parties to declare their independence and shape a more appropriate national agenda,” writes columnist E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. “The federal budget, already a mess before Katrina, is now a laughable document. Finding a way forward in – and out of – Iraq will require creativity from those not implicated in the administration’s mistakes. And if ever the phrase ‘reinventing government’ had relevance, it is now that we have observed the performance of a government that allows political hacks to push aside the professionals.”
Concludes Dionne: “The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them – and the country. Recent months have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans that President Bush’s government doesn’t work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this.”

It seems everyone knows George W. Bush is dead meat. Everyone, of course, except George W. Bush.