In recent months polls have found new
lows for Republican candidates participating in mid-term elections.
Most of this is fueled by dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, the
economy and the “mistakes” of Katrina last summer. World events
appear to be adding to Republican woes as well.
Item: President Hugo Chavez of
Venezuela calls President Bush “the devil”.
Item: the Pope proves he is not
infallible by making a huge gaffe during a recent speech where by
quoting a medieval text he implied Islam was a violent religion, the
response from extremists was a re-commitment to the destruction of
its enemies. The US as a Christian nation is then guilty by
Item: the New York Times
recently reported that a classified government intelligence report
asserts the Iraq war has only fueled more terrorism and anti-American
sentiment. The Iraq war, with its strike-first strategy, has had
many different goals over the years, but the Bush administration has
always kept true to the the idea that a victory in Iraq would help
remove the terrorist threat.
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, has an
even more disturbing theory. The current Iran standoff over nuclear
weapons is a direct result of the Iraq war. Ms. Cliff suggested this
on a recent PBS airing of The McGlaughlin Group. The
logic goes that countries on Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ list felt
the reason the US invaded Iraq and not North Korea was only due to
the absence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. Therefore, countries on our
list (that is, countries not “with us”) feel a need to quickly
acquire nuclear weapons in order to avoid a US attack.
So the US invasion of Iraq has made us
more vulnerable to a terrorist attack & has emboldened our
enemies to pursue nuclear weapons.
Back to the November elections, the
question then is what clever turn-a-phrase can Republicans use to
make their failed Iraq policy palpable to voters? More to the point,
what distraction will they employ? After an early spring go-nowhere
smokescreen to blame immigrants for our economic problems, it appears
Republicans have returned to their tried and true formula of fear
Here are just a couple of examples of
where Republicans are trying to scare us into voting for them:
In Indiana Republican Rep. John
Hostettler is running radio ads that suggest a Democratic controlled
Congress would work to advance a “homosexual agenda.” The ad,
which links his opponent Sheriff Brad Ellsworth to House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, ends “Go ahead, vote for Brad
Ellsworth. Make Nancy Pelosi's day.”
After attempts to use the terrorist
threat to scare voters did little for his approval rating, the
president has also decided to use the threat of gay marriage. Soon
after a NJ Supreme Court nod to gay marriage was announced, Mr. Bush
returned to using the issue of “activist” judges in his speeches
and defending marriage as a “fundamental institution of our
civilization”, that is between a man and a woman.
Even CNN talk show host Glenn Beck is
helping scare the Republican base. In a recently aired episode of
the aptly named show Glenn Beck, Mr. Beck discusses the
ramifications of a Democratic controlled Congress. His strongest
argument for voting Republican was simply so that the country may
avoid the chaos and mess that might emerge from a new leadership and
majority. Mr. Beck insisted that terrorists would be at an advantage
while the nation's attention was diverted to ethics investigations or
a possible presidential impeachment.
However, despite it's enormous success
over the past 12 years, it appears the Republican formula of fear
mongering and gay baiting has finally lost its punch. On October
27th the Rothenberg Political Report predicted
Democratic gains of 4-7 seats in the Senate, where the Democrats need
to net six seats for a majority. And nearly all political analysis
indicates a Democratic majority in the House after the November
elections. In fact election analysis by the Rothenberg Political
Reports suggests as many as 60 Republican seats may be lost this
Mr. Bush, sorry about your friends.