Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's the economy, stupid

At The New Republic, Noam Schreiber worries that Clinton and Obama hold "incoherent" positions on the war - that they seem to assume if we pulled out today we would leave behind something like the status quo, rather than something much less to our liking. On the other hand, McCain, whose support for an unpopular war should be a significant disadvantage, holds a more coherent position - arguing that we have made some progress and could make a lot more if we stick it out. Schreiber wonders whether the war will hurt McCain as much as we all think it should.

Jon Chait makes a slightly different argument in another piece in TNR, suggesting that voters who despise the war may nonetheless prefer Republicans to Democrats in the next election because Americans prefer someone who will use force when needed (presumably we would rather err on the side of war). He cites a Democracy Corps poll to support this depressing insight into our predilection for violence.

A friend who thinks Scheiber and Chait may be right, suggests that Democrats place their bets on the economy and not on Iraq at all. It's the economy, stupid!

Voters are worried about the economy, first and foremost, he tells me, and their votes in November will be rooted in their immediate self-interest, rather than in a war they have mainly ignored for the past five years anyway. He's okay with staying in Iraq on some reduced basis, perhaps in Kurdistan, for another 5 years if needed to counterbalance Iran (and to strike at AQI wherever they pop up).

Seems to me it is impossible to convince anyone you will focus on the economy if you aren't committed to getting out of Iraq. As long as American troops are engaged in Iraq, our ability to move forward on our domestic agenda will be severely limited.

Talk about incoherence!

If we want to accomplish any of our most important goals, we must find a way to bring the war in Iraq to an end. Soon.

Neil

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posted at 7:51:00 AM by Neil

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