WASHINGTON, April 30 — The Senate Republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to ease the burden of high gasoline prices is eliciting more scorn than gratitude from the very people it was intended to help.
Aides for several Republican senators reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters before the midterm elections in November.
"The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.
Angry constituents have asked, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" said another Republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan.
Conservative talk radio hosts have been particularly vocal. "What kind of insult is this?" Rush Limbaugh asked on his radio program on Friday. "Instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem." In commentary on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume called the idea "silly.