Posted by Brad @ 4:19 pm on May 31st 2007


Continuing on my Iraq/Vietnam stuff (here and here), Ross Douthat pulls out another interesting difference between Iraq and Vietnam, specifically the difference as it pertains to the campaigns of 1968 and 2008 (a comparison that Ron Paul makes frequently, for instance).

Namely, the Iraq war is MORE unpopular now than Vietnam was heading into the 68 campaign, by about 5-10 percentage points. In fact, Vietnam didn’t reach the level of unpopularity that Iraq enjoys until about 1973. By the time the first primaries hit (assuming that the popularity of the War in Iraq doesn’t improve and, in fact, decreases as it has pretty reliably), it’s very possible that the Iraq war is more unpopular than Vietnam in 1968 by 20 points or so.

I still hold that most all analysis of the Iraq war’s electoral effect underplays the unpopularity of the War in Iraq, and overplays the degree to which Republican candidates in particular (or ANY candidates) have to stay tied to it. Ross, thankfully, doesn’t often make the former mistake (though he sometimes makes the latter). I think that probably about 30% of the Republican electorate are going to be neocon imperialist die-hards. About 30% are already aching for a viable anti-war Republican. And the rest are just waiting around for some leadership, or new marching orders (depending on the mood you’re in). The moment a major Republican candidates begins to seriously talk about a new direction in Iraq (namely, one pointing home), I would bet that he starts picking up serious chunks of new support.

UPDATE: Sully has this to add. Among Iowa Republicans, 54% support withdrawing all troops from Iraq in the next six months. Repeat: 54% support withdrawing all troops from Iraq in the next six months. That’s inline with every other Iowa poll I’ve seen on the issue, and New Hampshire isn’t much different.

I’m telling you, don’t underestimate the potential Republican support of a serious anti-war critique. Not coming from Ron Paul, but especially not coming from a more “major” candidate.

1 Comment »

  1. A former prosecutor, Giuliani used to call drug dealers “murderers.” But as a lobbyist he agreed to represent Seisint, a security firm run by former cocaine smuggler Hank Asher. “I have a great admiration for what he’s doing,” Rudy gushed after taking $2 million of Asher’s money.

    Comment by weltschmerz — 5/31/2007 @ 8:23 pm

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