Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Democratic wing of the...

Dick Morris says that Howard Dean will never win with his "bash Iraq" stategy:

It is very easy for Howard Dean to predicate his primary campaign on criticizing U.S. involvement in Iraq. But it may be very hard in the general election.

Right now, he can attack the decision to intervene since he, alone among the major Democrats, neither voted in favor of the war or said he would have had he been in Congress at the time.

But campaigns are about the present and the future, not the past. You can't wage them with nothing but historical issues.

[...]

In Iraq, there are no half measures. You can't call for negotiations: The government with which one might once have parlayed, lies dead and destroyed.

Nor, if Bush is smart, will Dean be able to pin his hopes on turning the war over to the Iraqis. Bush is giving signs that he will do so just as Dean hits the general election campaign trail. How can Dean run urging Bush to do what he is already doing?

The Iraq issue is the biggest danger to Bush's re-election. But Bush can completely neutralize it by bringing troops home week after week during the election campaign. With each new planeload, the arguments in favor of Dean will atrophy. Even if Iraqis are killing Iraqis and Baghdad and the Sunni triangle are in chaos, Americans will not care as long as Saddam is not in power and U.S. forces aren't being killed.

Indeed, Dean faces the prospect of having to wage his campaign based on two elements of not-so-ancient history - the recession and the deaths in Iraq. If Bush can keep the economy growing and creating jobs even as he pulls troops out of Iraq and secures those that remain by limiting their mission, he can achieve political immunity the likes of which incumbent presidents can only dream.

Even though I don't agree that Americans won't care if "Baghdad and the Sunni triangle are in chaos", I still think Morris makes some great points. So much for Democratic wing of the Democratic party.


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