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The Changing Political Implications of the Iraq War

In my column at Townhall today I talk about how timing is everything in politics and about some ways the changing facts on the ground in Iraq might affect the political situation back home in 2008. That could mean big trouble for Democrats still pandering to anti-war groups.

AJ Strata has a related post about how the tide is turning against the Democrats on Iraq.

Update: James W. Ceaser has an excellent piece at the Weekly Standard about the Democrats' dilemma.

WILL ANY OF the Democratic candidates be able to summon the courage to concede an American victory in Iraq?

No one, of course, can know the ultimate outcome of this long war. But the vaunted "facts on the ground" now at least admit a trend leading to what might reasonably be called victory: a suppression of the insurgency; a steep reduction in the level of domestic, sectarian violence; the existence of a constitutional government not unfriendly to America; a gradual reduction of American force presence with diminishing American casualties; and the assurance for a period of a continued base of operations from which to handle other possible contingencies in the region.

But if this outcome "on the ground" can be called victory--and why should it not be?--there is a huge potential problem looming in our ability to acknowledge it. Generic opinion polls for the presidential election all indicate a much better than even chance that a Democrat will be elected president next year. All of the Democrats now have been running on a platform that, if it does not recognize defeat, certainly does not envisage victory. And moving beyond the candidates, a large part of the Democratic base is heavily invested in defeat, which is seen as condign punishment for a despised president.

Imagine then the dilemma facing a Democratic president with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.


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Comments (4)

The globe is cooling, too.<... (Below threshold)
kim's sock puppet:

The globe is cooling, too.
-------------------------

The smart thinkers we're sa... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The smart thinkers we're saying, "hey Dems., don't box yourselves in, we might just prevail in Iraq . . ." But the lunatic fringe pushed them into the box and now they'll have to deal with the political fallout--there will be a backlash.

The bad reputation for defeat post Vietnam will continue to haunt them, and moderates and conservatives will see the Dims as unserious on national security/defense.

Just imagine the adv... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:


Just imagine the advertisements next year.

"My opponent voted for us to go to war in Iraq, then voted for us to leave before the job was done. Is this the sort of behavior you want in a president?
But despite my opponent's best effort to engineer a US defeat, our brave service men and women met the challenge, adapted to the situation, defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq and helped establish the only real democracy in the Arab world.
We need a president who is more concerned about America winning than what is politically popular this month."

The best policy is to decla... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The best policy is to declare victory and leave.




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