Voters Shift on Iraq: Can We Still Win?
by nrafter530, Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 07:34:00 AM EST
Picture This: It's October 2008. Hillary Clinton is leading the President race narrowly against Mike Huckabee. At their final debate in Hempstead, New York, Hillary is asked "Do you think the surge last summer worked?" Hillary answers that despite the drop in violence, there has been no political solution in Iraq and there needs to be more diplomacy. Governor Huckabee responds to Hillary, saying "But Senator, you did not support the surge. Now we have a chance at political reconciliation because of the surge, and you did not support it, you did not wish to give it a chance. You just wanted to cut and run"
A month late, Huckabee is President-elect, Democrats lose 10 seats in the House and gain only one seat in the Senate. Exit polls show voters perceived Democrats are weak on war because of their opposition to the surge. Voters forget that they too were opposed to it.
I've seen the recent polls that show no change in the number of Americans who think troops should come home within in a year. I've seen no change in support for the war, but I've also seen the recent polls that show support for the surge and even an uptick on whether or not the war was the right move in the first place. Now I've seen the front page of politico.com, who broke the Rudy Giuliani scandal the other day, with a story that showed voters are becoming less concerned with the war and more concerned with other issues;
Rep. Jim Cooper, a moderate Democrat from Tennessee, said not a single constituent has asked about the war during his nearly two-week long Thanksgiving recess. Rep. Michael E. Capuano, an anti-war Democrat from Massachusetts, said only three of 64 callers on a town hall teleconference asked about Iraq, a reflection that the war may be losing power as a hot-button issue in his strongly Democratic district.
First-term Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) -- echoing a view shared by many of her colleagues -- said illegal immigration and economic unease have trumped the Iraq war as the top-ranking concerns of her constituents
Economic issues favor Democrats, but illegal immigration does not. Can we really count on the war as an issue next year? American people are notably fickle. They can quickly change their opinion on an issue on a dime and hold responsible the very people who supported the popular opinion. In May, Congress' approval rating plummeted because they didn't cut funding to the war. Will Congress' approval rating continue to plummet, only because they did not support the surge? Will the GOP be able to use an "I told you so" campaign tactic? Will the Brian Baird opinion begin to filter into the voting population?
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not comfortable with hinging our electoral victories on whether or not all hell breaks lose in Iraq again