The is little or no talk of continuing the legacy of the Shrub years. The operative word, "change," ballyhooed by candidates from both parties, is vernacular for running the executive branch of the federal government in a very different way than has the incumbent. McCain talks about changing the strategy in Iraq and ousting Rummy, Huckabee talks about the administration's arrogance and paranoia, Romney chirps about how his Harvard MBA classmate has "mis-managed" things.
Lame duck incumbents such as Truman, Johnson and Clinton watched their parties lose the White House as the nominee distanced himself from the departing President. Truman and LBJ both were involved with unpopular wars most of their time in office. Clinton's personal dalliances got the best of him, and the stench rubbed off on Gore.
President Ford was not able to remain in office as he attoned for the sins of Nixon. Bush the First is the only recently elected President who was of the same party as his predecessor, the popular Ronald Reagan, and his turned out to be a one term Presidency.
None of this bodes well for the ultimate GOP nominee, no matter who it is. Clearly, history is not on his side, and the man in the Oval Office right now is a millstone around the nominee's neck he will have a nearly impossible job of removing entirely. Even the lesson of Bush the First will not lead to someone "hitching their wagon" to the Shrub policies and legacy.
Ironically, if a Republican actually did distance himself completely from Shrub, the country would be better off no matter who wins the White House, provided the two final candidates both are pointing the way to a very different direction and leadership than what we have be subjected to the last 8 years.
377 days to go.