By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
America is still debating whether George W. Bush and his Republican counterparts in Congress are playing politics with a potential war in Iraq. And I’m here to tell you: Of course they are!
Before Iraq became the dominant story on every front page, the dominant piece in every national news segment, the dominant issue on every news-oriented Web site, Republicans were handicapped to lose ground in the Senate and possibly lose control of the House.
According to a recent story in the Washington Post, Republicans are now favored to keep the House and could also regain control of the Senate. This isn’t surprising.
Democrats have been the party of apathy and peace-mongering since Vietnam, when JFK and LBJ set the stage for Nixon to portray Republicans as the party that got America out of East Asia.
Ever since, Democrats have been afraid to go to war, a stigma that is hurting them every time Bush talks about terrorism, Saddam Hussein or an axis of evil. So it’s not surprising that Republicans, fighting for their congressional lives, play up national security in order to exploit the public’s fear of Democratic weakness.
According to recent polling, Americans have finally begun focusing their attention on Iraq, and not on the economy. This is very good for Republicans.
So Democrats are responding, accusing the GOP of using Iraq as a political chess piece. And Republicans respond indignantly that they are not, even though we all know they are.
But before we start feeling sorry for the Democrats, let’s take a look at what they’re doing in response.
First, they tried accusations. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) got downright flamboyant on the Senate floor several weeks ago, waving his glasses in the air as he ripped the president for using Iraq for political gain.
Daschle has since said he plans to vote for what amounts to an Iraqi war resolution. As has House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), No. 2 Senate Democrat Harry Reid (Nev.) and every single front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
So who’s playing politics now? The Democrats are trying to push Iraq out of the way as soon as possible, even if it means they sacrifice their anti-war principles, their reservations about unilateral action or their unhealthy allegiance to the United Nations.
To Republicans, possible war with Iraq is something that needed to be done anyway, and if it can be used to further their campaign to retake the Senate, all the better. To Democrats, war with Iraq is something that should not happen-unless the issue is getting in the way of their campaign to take the House.
How sad. One side is being politically opportunistic; the other is politically hypocritical. It should be a fun month.