Whose war?

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.

As Democrats had hoped, among voters who were against the war in Iraq, almost nine out of 10 said they chose a Democratic House candidate.

But those who approved of the war chose the Republicans by nearly the same margin.

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










Comments

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?

Because Bush, a Republican, was the Commander in Chief, and all the people who drew up and implemented the specific policies and specific strategies (and not some other policies that might have got better results) were appointed and 'led' by that Republican. The specific decisions that made this war a failure were made by Bush and his appointees (becauswe, by law, he's the decider), and the Congress had no power over them.

Here's one of those private-sector analogies you pro-business types seem to love: Just because the boss authorizes an employee to do something, doesn't mean the boss can't fire the employee later if the job isn't done right. If the employee makes a mess of it, and then says it's the boss's fault for giving him a chance to succeed or fail, he will be laughed out of the building.

Blaming Democrats for "letting" Bush make a mess of a war is not just ridiculous -- it's transparently unmanly and low.

PS: And don't try to pretend that a war that got thousands of US soldiers killed and damaged our image and credibility all over the world was not an issue weighing on the voters' minds. The silliness of that position is downright Coulteresque.

Raging Bee   ·  November 8, 2006 3:50 PM

My working theory is that Iraq upped the dem turnout. I assume being against a war would really motivate someone to get to the ballots.

Supporting a war... not so much, especially if you're voting for the legislature instead of the executive.

I don't know. I'm also wondering how many of these voters will feel betrayed, either because they voted dem but the dems won't go left, or because the voted for a centrist dem and the dems will go left.

As for me, it just sort of hit me today that republicans controlled the entire government and didn't do half the absolutely wonderful things they could have- maybe it's for the best.

Harkonnendog   ·  November 8, 2006 4:34 PM

Looks like victory hasn't damped your rage at all Bee... I wonder if the dems will follow suit in congress. Yikes.

Harkonnendog   ·  November 8, 2006 4:36 PM

"you pro-business types"...as opposed to what? Anti-business? What mindset would elicit a fundamental, ...foundational.. stance on being... "anti-business"?

Exactly what is it again...that makes "business" and "business-types" fundamentally evil?

Then we seem to move onto brighter lights and bigger fires with "And don't try to pretend that a war that got thousands of US soldiers killed and damaged our image and credibility" (World War II? World War I?, George Washington? Abe Lincoln?...which war has been fought where soldiers were NOT killed ...and HOW and among WHOM has our "image" been damaged? (Al-Qaeda? Taliban? Saddam? The BBC,Reuters and AP? Subversive leftists?)

Replacing ineffective, self-serving rightists...with duplicitous, weak-willed, cowering, subversive leftists...is ladeling from the same kettle of stinking fish, ...but we are all whistling past the graveyard here...and there may not be enough time or (sigh) energy left to fill all these empty vessels like stinging hornet and raging bees and biting slug and the half-evolved monkeyman and chimpthinker and baboonbrainstem.

It's 1939 again...and we're reveling in electing Chamberlain. Israel is in peril from the Social Democrats...who have installed a very sophisticated propaganda machine...and they are blaming all their problems on the Jews and America/Britain.

The attack is coming from the "left"...except they are marching in goosestep, lying about "root causes" for their anger, dressing it up in fine sounding names...recruiting the UN, Amnesty International, the press...dummying up photos, recruiting the "disenfranchised" and the Hit...er...leftist Youth on campuses...and indoctrinating them into a propaganda view of Israel/America as the "bad guy"....and VOILA...you have the recipe for a repeat of history.

Mark it down. There will be a strong rallying cry from the left (not unlike the Kos Kidz) to destroy the Jews, stop supporting Israel...embolden Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda...soften our resolve to stand firm...and the elimination of 1/3 of the world's Jewish population will be an appetizer for what is in store by the combined efforts of the Islamofascists, the Social Democrats, and their appeasers here and in Western Europe.

It's a cocktail recipe that will make for a life in "interesting times". We have gone back in time to 1939. Which side have you always said YOU would be on when reading that history? When it comes to standing up to be counted...which side will you be on now?

I'm betting heavily...that history repeats itself...only worse...this time. We are surrounded by raging bees and monkeybrains...ignorant, puerile, self-absorbed and indoctrinated lemmings. It's 1939...Israel is in mortal danger. America has lost its moral compass, it's soul and nearly all of its courage. It's lost a sense of itself. It's torn. It's been lied to...and lied about. And now the perception is the reality. We appear weak and have no resolve...we don't have the guts to stand up for what's right.

We are misdirected, lost and ambling about. It's 1939 and we are in a fog. We are watching propagandist magicians whose tricks are no longer hidden...but dangling openly from their sleeves and we still get misdirected by their lies...more brazen and boldly told every day. And still we do nothing. The Ministry of Media has been taken over right before our eyes, they photoshop phony photographs at Reuters, they brazenly tell falsehoods at the BBC, they openly broadcast propaganda for Al-Qaeda on CNN...and we do nothing.

Treason is no longer even an acceptable idea...it's been reduced, marginalized...you can't commit it. It's a child's plaything...Trick or Treason...pass out candy when our citizens are killed.

It's 1939...and we sit on our hands. Israel is the single most important issue of our times. Iran OPENLY announces that it wants to drive her into the sea...and the puerile/infantil empty vessels still cannot see that danger.

It's 1939...and there will not be peace in our time. We are now weaker than ever. I pray for Israel and for the courage and soul of our nation. We are lost...and replacing one scoop of stinking fish from the kettle with another scoop...will simply mask the truth...but it won't hide the smell.

cf bleachers   ·  November 8, 2006 7:42 PM

Its easy to think that the election yesterday was all about the war, but Republicans didn't take a drubbing yesterday just because of Iraq. Fiscal conservatives have become very disillusioned by the current congress. The Energy Bill, the Highway Bill, etc. soured many fiscal conservatives away from the GOP. It wasn't all about Iraq.

Chocolatier   ·  November 8, 2006 8:20 PM

You asked, "my logical quandary is whether Bush is unpopular because of Iraq, or the Iraq war is unpopular because of Bush." Answer: both!

Rhodium Heart   ·  November 9, 2006 1:16 AM

Wow, what completely unhinged reactions, especially from Harkonendog and cf bleachers. Before you guys resume your robotic "Democrats support terrorists" chant, you might want to read -- and REALLY TRY to comprehend -- this comment from another libertarian (a real one who sticks to his principles, not a GOP crack-whore):

Donald Rumsfeld is Osama Bin Laden's wet dream, for crying out loud. It was under his leadership that Bin Laden managed to get away when we had him surrounded. It was under his leadership, and with his complete control, that we went into Iraq with far fewer troops than were needed to secure the borders, the munitions dumps and the cities, which allowed the insurgency to arm itself with the weapons we failed to secure after taking over the country.

It was Rumsfeld who not only refused to plan for a long post-war occupation with a very different set of requirements than the initial invasion, but threatened to fire any of the war planners who told him that such a plan was necessary. It was Rumsfeld who called a press conference and declared that Gen. Shinseki was "wildly off the mark" in claiming that more troops and more money was necessary than they were telling people. Guess who turned out to be right?

It was Rumsfeld who predicted that we would have a very short occupation period and the whole thing would cost less than $50 billion because the Iraqis would greet us as liberators and Iraqi oil would pay for it all. How's that working out, Don? Not one thing Rumsfeld has ever said about Iraq has turned out to be true. Every major decision he made has turned out to be a disaster and has only fueled the terrorists all the more. He's been their best friend, for crying out loud. His incompetence has made America far less safe. Good riddance.

Who's supporting the terrorists again?

Raging Bee   ·  November 9, 2006 10:12 AM

Oops, all three of those paragraphs I pasted should have been in italics, not just the first.

And while I'm back...

...Iran OPENLY announces that it wants to drive [Isreal] into the sea...and the puerile/infantil empty vessels still cannot see that danger.

I don't know who you're referring to, but ALL AMERICANS "see that danger." We also see that our armed forces are too tied down in Iraq to deal with the danger. I wonder whose fault that is...

Treason is no longer even an acceptable idea...it's been reduced, marginalized...you can't commit it. It's a child's plaything...Trick or Treason...pass out candy when our citizens are killed.

What the fuck are you on about? Take your meds and get a grip already!

Okay, I'm sure I got the italics right on this one...

Raging Bee   ·  November 9, 2006 10:28 AM

This is probably beyond the comprehension of the subversive left...but the reason it's 1939 again has to do with the weaknesses in our two party system.

I suppose writing in smaller words with less references to things that actually have to be studied and based upon facts...is well beyond the shrieking they are used to...but, it may be worth it if even one of them doesn't become unglued and start shrieking and ranting...and actually does some investigation of facts.

Appeasement of ...and worse...passive acquiescence in/complicity with... enemies of state is NOT a political football.

When subversive leftists in the media (see eg Reuters, BBC, AP) propagandize the conflict in favor of Islamofascists...and are parroted by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR, NY Times...it is up to our leaders to confront this treachery head on. When they don't...and worse...when they mimick it themselves as part of a crass political manuever...then the fact that the Republicans are in office...or not...becomes a less than seminal issue.

To the uneducated...or for those who remain in intentional ignorant bliss (or screaming about how everyone who doesn't agree with them is need of meds)there seems to be some sort of bizarre other-worldy logic that suggests that "we can't fight terrorism because we are in Iraq"...this is first grader thumb sucking...threatening to hold their breath and turn blue if they don't get you to agree.

Iraq is the Maginot Line. Would you rather we were fighting terrorists here in your neighborhood? Or perhaps you are one of the ones who would gleefully sacrifice Israel. Are you weeping and gnashing teeth for Saddam? Heavily invested in wood chippers?

This childish anti-business, anti-American defense, anti-military, anti-establishment lockstep lemming nonsense may play well on campus in Berkeley...but it doesn't play in Peoria.

And the equally, if not moreso puerile nonsense that everyone who doesn't hate the President and despise the war in Iraq is (here pick the nursery school insult of the subversive left)...somehow thinks all Democrats support terrorists...is imbecilic.


All Democrats don't support terrorists...Chamberlain didn't support the extermination of the Jews...

It is the cocktail of appeasement, complicity with subversives, constant propagandizing against America and Israel FROM THE LEFT...that is the single greatest danger to us.

The subversive left has performed brilliantly in weakening our image...their propaganda and lies against us have been very effective and very damaging. Those of us in the center believe that the right has a passel of problems...but they pose LESS danger than the left does.

The subversive left loves to set up the faith-based right as the "fall guy" and straw man...for our individual liberties being imperiled. Abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage...are all issues that the subversive left uses to divide and conquer. Good for them...it's a brilliant strategy. Shame on them for the lies they to tell to make their points.

The center decides issues on a case by case basis on usually upon the facts. Making our national security a political football is a game for the subversives. The right are horrible at stating positions, unveiling strategy, implementing consensus.

Those with faith-based morals are often uncompromising, inflexible.

But they aren't treasonous. And they seem to be substantially less mendacious than the left. Their principles are not usually principles of convenience...depending on the political efficacy of the moment. Clearly not as often as the subversive left.

We are facing a grave danger...we are at a crossroads. And it mirrors 1939. The right is retreating into a cocoon of isolationism and xenophobia. They see burglars under the bed and are inclined to overstep...or at least start down a slippery slope against anyone and everyone.

But the subversive left is more dangerous. They keep trashing America and Israel and they don't care what lies and propaganda they spread. They want to weaken defense...appease...be complicit in the propaganda of the enemies of state.

They BOTH are undesirable at this crucial time and place in history. But the latter are undesirable, despicable...and more dangerous.


cf bleachers   ·  November 9, 2006 2:21 PM

Lol Bee...

Nothing about my reaction was unhinged. Keep telling yourself that whenever anyone criticizes anything you say, though.

Harkonnendog   ·  November 9, 2006 4:11 PM

R Bee,
You may be right that some and perhaps even most democrats don't support the jihadist terrorists (although Ellison and Conyers, as well as many aligned with the democratic party certainly politically support organizations that tangibly support islamic terrorist organs), but it is also true that the jihadists support the democrats. And so, you share this in common with Al Qaida. Are you comfortable with this ally of yours? And will the democrats demonstrate that they can be more effective in combatting this national enemy than the weakened Bush bulwark?

Prospector   ·  November 11, 2006 8:55 PM

Prospector: if you take al Qaeda's word at face value, as proof of ANYTHING, then you are a complete idiot and have nothing to contribute to an adult policy debate. Those people killed nearly 3000 innocent people, for no reason that any civilized person would consider sufficient, and now you're acting like their words can be taken at face value as sincere? Even Lyndon LaRouche is saner than that!

The sheer idiocy of your opinion is compounded by the fact that you didn't even bother to address any of the points I made about the consequences of Bush's actions.

(PS: people in the UK, our main ally in this stupid war, also welcomed the Democratic victory. How do their words fit into your world-view?)

Raging Bee   ·  November 14, 2006 9:41 AM

When Al Qaida says that their goal is to destroy America, I take this deadly serious. That you don't imperils the nation. They've already demonstrated a capability to cause grave damage in terms of lives, economies, and politics. I don't care to address your points because... I don't care about them. I simply pointed out the fact that as you cheer the rise of the democrats (along with Iran, Hamas, Hezbullah, and the weak western psyche), how do you feel about your new allies? These republicans have shown that they can kick jihadi butt quite well on the battlefields of our choosing. The dems went along for a little while and so I ask you -- will the likes of pelosi, reid, murtha, rangel, and conyers do better?

Prospector   ·  November 14, 2006 12:58 PM

When Al Qaida says that their goal is to destroy America, I take this deadly serious. That you don't imperils the nation. They've already demonstrated a capability to cause grave damage in terms of lives, economies, and politics. I don't care to address your points because... I don't care about them. I simply pointed out the fact that as you cheer the rise of the democrats (along with Iran, Hamas, Hezbullah, and the weak western psyche), how do you feel about your new allies? These republicans have shown that they can kick jihadi butt quite well on the battlefields of our choosing. The dems went along for a little while and so I ask you -- will the likes of pelosi, reid, murtha, rangel, and conyers do better?

Prospector   ·  November 14, 2006 12:58 PM

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