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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

McCain + Iraq Support = Electoral Collapse?

Can we please stick a fork in this notion that the McCain campaign is imploding, in part, because of his steadfast support for victory in the Iraq war? I can see why lefties might want to push this nonsense, but when you start finding it at sensible, conservative outlets like National Review Online, you begin to reach the end of your patience.

John J. Pitney analyzes the various reasons for the McCain collapse, and includes Iraq in his list of McCain's campaign difficulties:
McCain has shown real courage in standing by the war in Iraq. Unfortunately for him, support for the war is waning even among GOP voters. Some might admire his willingness to stick with President Bush, but many others may worry that it could cost the next election and open the way to a Hillary Clinton presidency.
The CNN article he links to states:
Anti-war sentiment among Republican poll respondents has suddenly increased with 38 percent of Republicans now saying they oppose the war.
The complete poll results document from CNN/Opinion Research doesn't actually provide this data, so I guess we just have to take their word for it, and also take it on faith that the rise to 38% opposition is actually a significant increase.

The following poll result adds to our understanding of current sentiment:
10/11. Which comes closer to your view:

You favor the U.S. war in Iraq (from Q.10) 30%
You oppose the U.S. war in Iraq because you think the initial 41%
decision in 2003 to go to war in Iraq was a mistake
You oppose the U.S. war in Iraq because you think 26%
the war has been mismanaged
No opinion 3%
What emerges is the issue of how exactly one defines "opposition" to the Iraq war. Really, you have two camps opposing the war:

One camp never supported the war and never will. The second camp most likely supported the war at some point but has grown weary of the enterprise. In my mind, these groups are hardly bedfellows - one has no interest in winning the war; the other does but has lost faith in the effort. To lump them together and present them as a unified "opposition" is misleading.

No doubt, opposition on the GOP side is mainly of the second type - those who want to fight and win the war but no longer believe that the current approach can succeed. You could call it "soft" opposition, if you like. The idea that the cut and run surrender strategy of the first camp will appeal to this group is crazy - any GOP politician who embraces this strategy will be severely punished for precipitating a defeat in Iraq.

Which bring me back to McCain. GOP voters are overwhelmingly in favor of winning the war in Iraq. GOP opposition is mainly of the "soft" variety - they want to win but have no confidence in the current leadership. McCain's position re: Iraq is perfectly aligned with his party - he was calling for a change in direction in Iraq long before last November's election (which precipitated the current surge strategy). He has the support of the 68% that clearly support the war, and the support of those who oppose the war, but only circumstantially.

Conservatives know why McCain is losing. It has nothing at all to do with his Iraq war position.


Blogger Right Hook said...

McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Feingold as well as some of his other RINO positions is why his campaign is on life support. McCain's support for the war effort, if anything, has been the adrenalin shot that has kept his campaign marginally viable.

If he had joined the retreat-and-defeat crowd his campaign would have folded a long time ago.

7/12/2007 1:29 PM  

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