OBAMA’S BIG REPUBLICAN PROBLEM
By BILL BRADLEY –
Barack Obama has plenty of problems with the Republican Party. But his biggest problem is the least obvious of them: the Republicans are turning anti-war. And as they do so, any popular base of support for the Afghan War disappears.
While the Republicans’ long-entrenched hawk faction favors a less aggressive withdrawal from Afghanistan than Obama outlined in his Wednesday night address, or none at all, growing numbers of Republicans in Congress, many new Tea Party types, want the war to simply end. And because they are backed up by polling numbers showing a sharp decline in support for the war among Republican voters, the party’s presidential candidates have responded with much less resolute rhetoric than in the past.
It’s one of the great ironies of contemporary politics that this Republican evaporation should be taking place. After all, it’s the Republicans, and especially their then-dominant neoconservative faction, that steered America into Iraq — one of the great non sequitur moves in history — in the wake of 9/11. And it’s the Republicans who made the test of patriotism, and international friendship, whether “you’re for us or against us.”
That’s why it was necessary for national Democrats, i.e., those who intend to actually win elections by appealing to enough voters to do so, to make Afghanistan the good war and Iraq the bad war. But Obama, who correctly identified Iraq as a “stupid war,” thus transcending notions of “good” or “bad,” in 2002, took the whole thing way too far in late 2009 when he fatefully decided to do a big “surge” of his own in Afghanistan… READ MORE