IS THE GOP DOOMED?….Real Clear Politics highlights the following exchange from ABC’s This Week on Sunday:
George Stephanopoulos: If this now declared deadline of Gen. Petraeus of September, if the political goals haven’t been met by then, do you see large scale Republican defections at that point?
George Will: Absolutely. They do not want to have, as they had in 2006, another election on Iraq. George, it took 30, 40 years for the Republican Party to get out from under Herbert Hoover. People would say, “Are you going to vote for Nixon in ’60?” “No, I don’t like Hoover.” The Depression haunted the Republican Party. This could be a foreign policy equivalent of the Depression, forfeiting the Republican advantage they’ve had since the ’68 convention of the Democratic Party and the nomination of [George] McGovern. The advantage Republicans have had on national security matters may be forfeited.
Will’s comparison of Iraq to the Depression is probably overstated, but perhaps not by that much. The public may not trust a party that it feels is unwilling to wage war even when war needs to be waged, but it also doesn’t trust a party that seems hell bent on charging into war no matter what the circumstances. As the Republican Party continues to be identified with guys like Bill Kristol, who seem (literally) to favor the use of force as the answer to virtually every foreign policy crisis, the public is eventually going to decide that the party is led by knee-jerk loons who don’t have a clue how to run a real foreign policy — even if they do dress nicely and speak in well-modulated tones. Eventually, maybe even the mainstream media will figure this out too.