As expected, it's happening. The worm is turning. The once pro-war Republicans are entering a new phase.
As noted in today's snapshot, George F. Will's "One Way Or Another, Leaving Iraq" (Washington Post) calls for US forces to leave Iraq and concludes:
If, in spite of contrary evidence, the U.S. surge permanently dampened sectarian violence, all U.S. forces can come home sooner than the end of 2011. If, however, the surge did not so succeed, U.S. forces must come home sooner.
The Democratic Party rode 'opposition' to the Iraq War to huge wins in 2006 and 2008. The voters believed them and expected that the Democrats would indeed end the illegal war. They did not do that. Even after they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, they did not move to end the Iraq War.
You cannot run against them and not note this fact. Of course the GOP was going to turn against the Iraq War. We've gone over that repeatedly here. Most recently April 5, 2009 when noting Chris Hill's nomiantion for Ambassador to Iraq
The GOP senators were offering carefully worded questions, delivered very carefully. Why was that?
That doesn't happen in most hearings. No one comes off rehearsed (mainly because few have the time to be). So what was going on there? Turns out, they were preparing for clips that they can air if Iraq goes straight to hell between now and the 2010 elections. Chris Hill is unqualified and has no MidEast experience. Iraq is among the most important diplomatic posts at this point due to the perception that violence is down (and some say gone -- it's not gone, it hasn't even ceased).
It is a good guess that Iraq will yet again slap the Operation Happy Talkers in the face and this time the GOP's the one prepared to benefit from such an event. They're going to attack if that happens (I think it will happen) and they're not MoveOn. Meaning? They're not attacking Ray Odierno. They're going to point to Chris Hill. They're going to point to his ambassadorship. They also know that the 2007 benchmarks were never met. Three years later and they're not met. The GOP line of attack is going to be: "Hill had the progress that Peteraues and Crocker built and created and he wasted it. He is completely unqualified and we raised these issues when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." (I don't know Sam Brownback and I have been told his objection is very real to Hill's appointment. I'm not stating or inferring he participated in political theater. I am saying that those Republicans on the committee did.)
I think Hill's going to be confirmed. I believe he's unqualified for the post and, based on Iraq events since the start of the illegal war, Iraq will be the same quagmire where nothing is accomplished. The GOP's going to hang that on Hill. The Dems think they can turn Palin into the 2010 issue and that makes no sense at all. I've been told that it's the same as when the Republicans go after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And they went after her before she was Speaker. But the difference is that Pelosi was on the national stage as a member of Congress. Palin's a governor, it's a different level and she's got no huge impact on the national stage from her position. It would be as if Bully Boy Bush had decided to attack Governor Jennifer Granholm. It makes no sense. And since the attacks on Palin never end, you're begging to create a backlash of sympathy for Palin and you're also risking looking incredibly petty by making a governor the focus of all your scorn. It's ploy based on sexism and maybe it'll work but far more likely will be the GOP betting on Iraq.
The administration has no clue what a huge mistake they're making. The Republicans are not going to stick with Iraq forever. We've noted that here in 2007 and 2008. But by naming someone with no MidEast experience as ambassador to that country, the Democratic administration just gave the Republican Party their out on Iraq. It becomes, "We supported it. We supported the work Crocker and Petraeus did. And we stood firm and managed to get the violence down. And then President Obama appointed someone completely unqualified and all the progress vanished." That will be the argument and that will be how Republicans begin walking away from the Iraq War which is now Barack Obama's. And if the GOP plays this well, it takes the only card that Dems have had for the last few election cycles: That they're right on Iraq and the Republicans are wrong.
The Dems were happy to use Iraq when a Republican was in the White House. You'd have to be really thick-headed not to grasp that a Democrat in the White House and a continued Iraq War would mean Republicans would want to use the war to garner votes.
I'll leave to others' judgments as to how sincere George Will is in his column or how calculated he is? But he's put it out there and, yes, a Kagan has slapped him down already today. No surprise. They will not walk away from that illegal war. They have far too much vested in it. But they don't control the Republican Party. They wanted to and they might have succeeded if the Iraq War had been the "cakewalk" it was promised to be.
Others will join Will. Some will be sincere and some will just see it as a wonderful gift: A way to point out that the Democrats are being hypocrites: Insisting on ending the war NOW when Bush was in office and content to let things ride today.
For the bulk of the decade, the public has associated the Democratic Party with opposition to the Iraq War. That is their strength and what handed them both houses of Congress in 2006. The Republican playbook in the last 20 years has repeatedly been: Destroy your oponents strength.
Not play up their weak quality. It's always been identify their strength and then destroy it. At a time of war, John Kerry's a decorated war hero? Rip that apart, question it, smear it. Al Gore's a highly intelligent person? Attack that. (Calling him a liar was attacking his record -- calling him a liar was calling into question his intelligence and bringing him down to the same level as George W. Bush.) That's how they work. And some will be turning against the war simply because it fits into the pattern.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4334. Tonight? 4338.
***0-4-09 Numbers corrected. Thank you to Eli, Joan and Keelan who were the first to e-mail and point out that the numbers wrong. "Last Thursday" link now goes to last Thursday and not a Thursday in April. ICCC is still down, 2 deaths were announced Thursday, the total of 4338 is those 2 added to 4336 which was the count on Sunday. ****
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