Tuesday, April 01, 2003
"I think the war is going to be a success and then immediately the country will pivot to focusing on the economy," said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist.
This from another New York Times piece about growing unease in the GOP, though what follows was easily the best quote:
--"I don't understand what is floating his ship except patriotism and terrorism concerns," said one conservative Republican political strategist. "If the tide turns, there's nothing else that keeps his boat afloat. There's a sort of feeling out there of, `Where is this thing going?' We were all happy to follow President Bush into this, but we're now starting to look up at the hillside and wondering who's up there."--
This was one of the anonymous Republicans who feared retribution from the White House if they used their name. However this war is making Republicans squirm, it should be encouraging to note, as evidenced in the first statement, that Republicans are staking their political fates on the 2004 election to its success. The reason this is encouraging is that the war is really a moot issue in the coming election.
How is it moot? The fact is that almost every announced Democratic rival voted for or stated support for the war in Congress. Of the few remaining that are outside the current Capitol Hill crowd, only Howard Dean has maintained a consistent anti-war message. So only one Democrat will be able to use the war against President Bush, but even if Howard Dean wins the nomination, the message that will have the most impact on American voters is tied directly to their pocketbooks. As the unnamed political strategist points out, this presidency is decidedly lacking in substance, despite having majorities in both Houses of Congress. If Republicans are thinking they can suddenly turn wartime production into an economic boom, they should pay more attention to the numbers. Unemployment continues at staggering rates, production remains low, even the housing boom is starting to decline.
After World War II, America was able to quickly convert massive war production facilities into civilian use. The technology used and invented also quickly found commercial homes and the economy rode the wave through the fifties. Despite it's technical "brilliance" this war is relying on technology that has already been in place or has no practical civilian purpose. The tanks and bombers, Hummers and artillery aren't even benefitting defense companies because most of it is coming from contracts already awarded. No new start-up capital means Boeing, TRW, Northrup and others aren't rehiring the thousands they laid off in the last three years. The Republicans are riding a bubble and sure the view for the President is fantastic all prismed through the soapy liquid film, but I wouldn't want to be the one looking up from underneath.
Bran 6:10 PM : |
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