War? What war?? The Economy Trumps Iraq in US Primaries???
My Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Myths and Realities of the Primaries
The Iraq war, once the key issue in the U.S. presidential election, is taking a back seat to the economy as voters fret over a possible recession . . . . Polls in Iowa, the state that kicked off the process for choosing a president on Thursday, showed people pushing the war lower on their list.The other night, I heard establishment pundit David Gergen say,
The entrance polls in Iowa certainly suggested that Iraq has receded ... as the central issue in the campaign, partly because the 'surge' is working and fatalities are down, and partly because the economy is getting worse. . . .Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who argued Iraq's diminishing role in the election would be positive for Republican candidates, argues
The latest numbers on jobs that came out (on Friday) ... are being interpreted by investors as yet another sign we may be heading toward a recession.
It means that domestic issues, from what we can tell today, are likely to play a relatively greater role in determining votes. Anything that drives Iraq down the agenda helps Republicans because a majority of Americans think it was a mistake to have gone into Iraq in the first place, and there's very little that Republicans can say at this point to persuade people otherwise.Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center, which tracks media coverage of the war, goes along:
At this moment in time, the daily accounts [of the occupation] have subsided, the daily concern over 'Is the situation getting worse?' has eased off, and people are beginning to think about things closer to home.
The point is, we are in the Thermidorian Reaction of the Neo-Conservative revolution.
For historians of revolutionary movements, the term Thermidor has come to mean the phase in some revolutions when the political pendulum swings back towards something resembling a pre-revolutionary state, and power slips from the hands of the original revolutionary leadership.At this point, we are at the same juncture (parallel - not exact) where we were when Lyndon Johnson announced on 31-Mar-68 that he was not running for re-election. Now, as then, the issues, pro- and con- the Iraq Occupation/Vietnam War are/were well settled.
Take a look at some clips from this late December Los Angeles Times Poll.
The vision of a protracted occupation of indefinite duration in Iraq eats at the soul and confidence of Americans. Its continuing and spiraling expense cast doubt over our being able to fund solutions to the myriad domestic problems and challenges which our nation faces. Internationally, Iraq remains an unmitigated public relations disaster.
For Americans, the problem of Iraq is no longer at issue. Because verdict is in. It is settled that Iraquagmire has been the worst self-inflicted shock to the American republic since the civil war. The terminal punctuation of the Busheney chapter in American history looms palpably in sight. Beginning in 378 days from now, Americans can begin the demolition of Bush's warfare state and his doctrine of preventive war. If they cannot annul this Overton break with the past, they can at least hope for its systemic repudiation.
It is this determination defines the profile of 'change' that animates voters in this primary season.