November 08, 2006
While I went to bed knowing that the Democrats took the House, it was nonetheless a little annoying to turn on CNN this morning and watch Rahm Emanual rail against Bush and the war in Iraq as if he woke up and found himself in charge of the entire government. (I suppose he considers it a form of "reaching out" to assure CNN that Bush won't be impeached. That's no concession; it's strategy. Dems know that impeaching Bush could ruin their chances in 2008.)
My brain is mush from the damned antihistamines I've been taking, and so I am at a loss to analyze what ought to be a couple of simple questions of logic. Unless I am way off, a major issue in this election was Bush. The Democrats were running against him, while the Republicans were running away from him (or even in many cases against him). Psychologically, this guaranteed that the Republicans would be perceived by the voters as if they'd been caught red-handed with much to hide, and the scandals hardly helped in this regard. Politics being like war, it also made the enemy smell blood in the water.
Assuming antipathy towards Bush was a primary driving issue, my logical quandary is whether Bush is unpopular because of Iraq, or the Iraq war is unpopular because of Bush.
Either way, running away from Bush was very bad strategy. I know I'm repeating myself, but for members of the Commander in Chief's own party to be cutting and running from him in wartime is no way to win.
Thus, my concern is that even if this election was not about the war, there will be a major push to make it appear to be.
But in logic, if the election was about the war (which I do not concede that it was), why is it necessarily Bush's war? Why should the Democrats who voted to support it (and who claimed that there were WMDs) get a pass?
Vietnam was started by Kennedy, escalated by LBJ, funded by both parties, and finally ended by Nixon. Yet Kerry calls it "Nixon's War." (Right.)
I think it's too easy for Democrats to claim credit for being against what they were for. The problem is that history shows it works.
UPDATE: I like Glenn Reynolds' post election assessment:
The Democrats now have a chance to govern, not just carp, and how well they do over the next couple of years will have a lot to do with whether they have a shot at the White House in 2008. Perhaps getting back into power will also encourage a bit of responsibility. We'll see. If nothing else, the bitterness that comes with losing, and being out of power, is likely to recede a bit. Republicans would be wise not to succumb to a similar bitterness, especially as this defeat could have been avoided if they'd stuck to their principles. Maybe they'll pay more attention to libertarians, too.And even if they won't pay attention to libertarians, maybe they could take a lesson from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
MORE: Another lingering question is how the term "conservative Democrat" is to be defined. (For years now, the label of "conservative" has been applied to anyone who supports the war in Iraq, regardless of their position on other issues.) If war supporters won the election for the Democrats, will there be a shakeup in the Democratic Party?
MORE: According to CNN, exit polls show war coming in fourth:
Asked which issues were extremely important to their vote, 42 percent said corruption and ethics; 40 percent, terrorism; 39 percent, the economy; 37 percent, Iraq; 36 percent, values; and 29 percent, illegal immigration.Interesting that terrorism and Iraq are separated by CNN, but there's no breakdown of the how many voters might consider them related, if not inseparable. My suspicion is that those voters who see no connection between Iraq and terrorism would be more likely to oppose the war, while those who see a connection would be more likely to support it.
posted by Eric on 11.08.06 at 07:55 AM
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