Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Republicans' Iraq war demon

The Financial Times speculates on fears within the GOP over self-defeat at home from the defeat abroad in Iraq; that is, the Republican White House's unpopular Iraq strategy is hurting the party in Congress.

Talking to Fox News, the conservative broadcaster, on his visit to Baghdad on Thursday, Dick Cheney said: “We didn’t get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican party. Our mission is to do everything we can to prevail ... against one of the most evil opponents we’ve ever faced.”

Back in Washington Mr Cheney’s Republican colleagues are showing growing irritation with the vice-president’s Iraq war logic. On Tuesday 11 moderate Republican lawmakers warned George W. Bush that their support for his Iraq “surge” was rapidly running out. Tom Davis, a congressman from northern Virginia, told the US president that in one portion of his House district just 5 per cent supported his Iraq strategy.

The same growing unease applies with even greater force to Republicans in the Senate, who hold 21 of the 33 Senate seats that will be contested in next year’s congressional elections. Many Democrats believe that they could improve their narrow 51-49 Senate majority next year to a filibuster-proof 60 seats or more.

Such is the Democratic party’s confidence that some Democrats are talking of bringing about the same kind of splits in the Republican party that so damaged their own party’s electoral fortunes following the Vietnam war a generation ago.

Bush's political power is another thing getting hit hard because of his unpopularity. Remember: money can buy elections...
Mr Bush managed to raise $10.5m for his party at the event compared to $17m last year and $38.5m the year before. For the first time in many years both the Democratic presidential field and the Democratic congressional leadership are out-fundraising their Republican opponents by about 50 per cent.

In the next 10 days Mr Bush will have another opportunity to demonstrate his immunity to the US public’s backlash against the Iraq war, when Congress sends him its second version of the Iraq and Afghanistan war funding bill he vetoed in its first incarnation last month.

Some of the presidential candidates for 2008 are already distancing themselves from the Bush administration's Iraq war policy.

Nightmare scenario for the Republicans: Democrats take a much larger majority (enough to filibuster) in both houses of Congress in the 2008 election, as well as the presidency. Disillusioned, the party fractures further and their conservative base breaks into religious right and libertarian camps.

Nightmare scenario for the Democrats: No political gain over Bush and his party's mishandling of the war. Because of power cockiness, scandals occur at a massive rate. Loose public confidence and blamed for failings in current state of the war. Anti-war and more hawkish factions duke it out right before the elections, where their majority is lost.

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1 comment:

Beltway Progressive said...

Tom Davis said anyone who didn't support the Iraq War was guilty of treason (a death penalty offense). Now, he doesn't say it's wrong. He says it's unpopular. Is he worried about losing a just war or losing his next election?