GOP line on Iraq fails to persuade

When President Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year, the response from Republican presidential candidates was immediate: they were outraged. What’s more, the usual suspects — most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham — made the rounds, telling the broadcast networks that the end of the war is a terrible development.

Their message apparently hasn’t proven persuasive outside their own base.

Americans widely support President Obama’s recent decision to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, with 75% approving. That includes the vast majority of Democrats and independents. Republicans, however, are slightly more likely to disapprove than approve.

These results are based on an Oct. 29-30 Gallup poll…. These findings are consistent with Americans’ long-standing desire to leave Iraq.

Gallup’s analysis speculated that opposition to withdrawal from Republican voters may be “related to their broader disapproval of Obama,” rather than a genuine desire to see U.S. troops remain in Iraq.

Regardless, with 75% of the country on board with the president’s policy, the GOP decision to trash withdrawal was completely tone deaf. Given the focus on the economy, this may not carry major electoral implications, but next year, no matter who wins the Republican presidential nomination, Obama will be right when he says, “I brought the troops home and my opponent wanted to keep them there indefinitely.”