Thursday, June 22, 2006

GOP Decides Iraq War Will Be A Positive Issue In Midterms

The Republicans have found what they think will be a winning issue on which to campaign this election season.

It is the Iraq war.

Just a few weeks ago, some Republicans were openly fretting about the war in Iraq and its effect on their re-election prospects, with particularly vulnerable lawmakers worried that its growing unpopularity was becoming a drag on their campaigns.

But there was little sign of such nervousness on Wednesday as Republican after Republican took to the Senate floor to offer an unambiguous embrace of the Iraq war and to portray Democrats as advocates of an overly hasty withdrawal that would have grave consequences for the security of the United States. Like their counterparts in the House last week, they accused Democrats of espousing "retreat and defeatism."

That emerging Republican approach reflects, at least for now, the success of a White House effort to bring a skittish party behind Mr. Bush on the war after months of political ambivalence in some vocal quarters. As President Bush offered another defense of his Iraq policy during a visit to Vienna on Wednesday, Republicans acknowledged that it was a strategy of necessity, an effort to turn what some party leaders had feared could become the party's greatest liability into an advantage in the midterm elections...

People who attended a series of high-level meetings this month between White House and Congressional officials say President Bush's aides argued that it could be a politically fatal mistake for Republicans to walk away from the war in an election year.

A senior adviser to Mr. Bush said the White House had concluded that it was better to plunge aggressively into the debate on Iraq than to let Democrats play upon clear, public misgivings about the war. "This is going to be a big issue in this election," said the adviser, who was granted anonymity in exchange for agreeing to describe strategic considerations about the war. "Better to shape and fight it -- as good and strongly as you can -- than to try to run away from it."...

The strategy still required calming some uneasy Republicans, administration officials said. A participant in one White House meeting, who would discuss the intraparty debate only after being promised anonymity, said Mr. Bush's aides sought to convince lawmakers that the political situation was not so dire because polls had also shown dissatisfaction with progress in Iraq in 2004.

The American people are not as gullible as the GOP obviously assumes. The increasing unpopularity of the war is not due to anyone's talking points. It is due to the deteriorating situation on the ground in Iraq.

This war of choice was pushed upon the nation by a co-ordinated series of lies and malfeasence by the administration. If the war could have been won--it already would have been won. The Republicans will have to face the reality of their predicament at the polls in November.

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