The Iraq war's human consequences abroad are far more tragic than any impact they are having on partisan politics at home. But for Republicans, the last casualty of Mr. Bush's war of choice may be the party itself.America's view of Republicans crumbles in Iraq
According to the latest Gallup survey, Republican self-identification has declined nationally and in almost every American state. Why? The short answer is that President Bush's war of choice in Iraq has destroyed the partisan brand Republicans spent the past four decades building.Yes, it's hard to believe that only two short years ago Karl Rove was still talking about a permanent Republican majority. That almost sounds absurd today and it is in large part a result of the Bush's debacle in Mesopotamia and a lack of oversight by the Republican majority.
That brand was based upon four pillars: that Republicans are more trustworthy on defense and military issues; that they know when and where markets can replace or improve government; that they are more competent administrators of those functions government can't privatize; and, finally, that their public philosophy is imbued with moral authority. The war demolished all four claims.
In uniform or out, Americans think Iraq is a disaster, oppose escalation and blame Mr. Bush and his party for the mess in Mesopotamia. Heading into the 2006 mid-terms, polls showed Republicans trailing Democrats as the party most trusted to handle Iraq and terrorism. Nationally, Mr. Bush's war approval ratings hover around 30 percent.This is an opportunity for the Democrats which they seem hesitant to take advantage of. They were given the majority to end the war and have come up short. If they continue to come up short they could pay in 2008. The American people voted for change and they had better get it.
Military members are skeptical, too. A Military Times poll released in December revealed that only 35 percent of military members approved of the president's handling of the war - despite the fact that 46 percent of them are self-identified Republicans (down from 60 percent in previous Military Times polls) while just 16 percent are Democrats. According to a recent Zogby survey of troops serving in Iraq, 72 percent want American forces home within a year.
Congressional hearings last week on war contracting dispel the second claim. Billions of dollars appropriated for Iraq cannot be accounted for, and contracts have been doled out with limited oversight and little regard for competitiveness.
Matt Stoller is right:
Grace Time is Over
It's pretty obvious at this point that the Democratic leadership isn't serious about ending the war in Iraq. They won't defund the war, and keep repeating the meme that cutting off funding for the war means cutting off funding for the troops.
It's time for the blogs to stop giving them a pass.