The Instapundit today revisits ann old prediction of his:
If Blair loses or does badly, the press will say that the election was a referendum on the Iraq war and Bush. If Blair does better than expected, the press will say that the election was about local issues of no greater significance. (Either way, resentment of the Blair government’s position on the EU and immigration will be largely ignored.)
Maybe. But two quick things:
1.) The outcome is a win-win for Bush. If Blair wins, the opposition will finally put to bed the Iraq war as a weapon, and Bush retains his strongest ally in Iraq. If Blair loses, Bush has an ally in the Tories on virtually every other issue.
2>) To date, despite all the rancor in the media about opposition to the war, in the big three, no one has paid a price, at least not at the election booth. Bush was re-elected and increased his margin of victory. John Howard, who is really Bush’s soulmate, was elected in Australia. And I see nothing that tells me Blair will not be re-elected today.
The only “loss” was in Spain, where the citizens elected a socialist after they decided that appeasement was the remedy from the bombings the weekend before the elections, where terrorists wanted to affect the election and Spaniards gave them the proverbial ole’.
Given my druthers, if I could have a pro-war liberal Democrat (by American standards) like Tony Blair as President of the USA or an anti-war conservative Republican, I’d pull the lever for the Democrat.
National defense comes first. Sadly, too many have that listed below “party affiliation” on their priority list.
Well, I think Glenn is right about how the press will play things, but I don’t think that means that the press would be wrong. Opinion polls show that Brits are overwhelmingly against the UK’s participation in the war, but they genearlly like Blair’s performance on domestic issues.
“Can Blair overcome opposition to the war with his domestic performance” seems a fair read to me.
RW, that kneejerk interpretation of the Spanish election results doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Aznar (the previous Spanish president) was done-in by his pathetic attempt at a cover-up.
Within minutes of the bombing, he blamed ETA, a Basque seperatist group. As an American who pays passing attention to international news, even I didn’t buy it. ETA is famously polite in their bombings, phoning in warnings hours in advance, giving police just enough time to evactuate the area before setting off their bombs, resulting only in property damage. Blowing up a crowded commuter train is simply not their M.O.
If I could figure that out, then so could every Spaniard. So when the truth came out, after a couple of days, that it was Al Qaeda, it was obvious that Aznar was trying to supress that information until after the election to save his own political skin. His plan backfired.
A smarter politician would have used the attack to “prove” the war’s moral necessity and ride natural patriotic sentiment into a clean-sweep victory on election day.
Well, if we are having a straw vote here …
If I could have a three-headed pygmy Republican on one side who would tell the truth, and who would never send the country into war on the basis of speculation and trumped-up reasons, and a nice liberal Democrat on the other side who would go along with a bullshit runup to war because he foolishly believed that it was patriotic to do so because “defense comes first” ….
I’d vote for the pygmy. An honest three-headed pygmy is better than a goddammed fool. Keep in mind, I’m a liberal Democrat myself.
You’re right, Aznar played it wrong. I didn’t mean to gloss over that. Was only saying that the terrorists wanted Aznar to lose and the citizens of Spain decided to comply.
ppgaz, I don’t have time for idiotic trolls, so please f*ck off.
Was only saying that the terrorists wanted Aznar to lose…
First, Aznar wasn’t on the ballot. His party (led by a successor) was.
Second, how do you know the Ansar al-Islam cell that carried out this attack wanted a direct effect on the outcome, rather than simply to spread terror in Madrid? What good would accrue to them? 3500 troops withdrawn from Iraq? How long would they have been there, otherwise, given that the invasion was so widely unpopular in Spain? Poland is drawing down its forces, and Ukraine, without terror attacks, acknowledging popular sentiment. It’s democracy at work. And why would the Madrid bombers assume that the government of Spain would lie to the population about ETA suspicion? Maybe they assumed that the government would act transparently and the people would rally against the Socialists. (Americans rallied to their government after 11 September.) So, maybe they wanted Aznar’s legacy to continue. After all, the Socialists have liberalized Spanish law to an unprecedented degree. They’re on their way to establishing a gay marriage statute. Not likely that religious extremists think that’s a good idea.
Really, this “we know whom the terrorists want to win in domestic political squabbles” is as ridiculous a contention as those quoted (in other posts, on the religious right) as knowing that God has taken a position on the estate and gift tax. The terrorists want to disrupt government and create strife and suspicion, to make us suffer in the same degree that they contend we make Muslims suffer. I doubt they see a whole lot of difference between the center-right of Aznar’s party and the center-left of his Socialist replacements.
Nice Usenet-level discourse, there, RW. Unfortunately, your position is untenable.
There is no currently viable excuse for the war which would have been seen as justification for it, before the fact. It’s all just ends-justify-means argument.
When ends justify means, then government of, by and for the people is history. The power grabbers and the liars — you, for example — can always poke around looking for “we’re better off” opportunities, and revise history.
The facts are not going to go away. The war was promulgated on a set of imperatives that now look rather silly, but is justified now on a set of imperatives that then would have been inadequate.
Call me a troll all you like, the facts are the facts and you can’t change them.
Oh, and by the way, the case for war in the US and in Britain was never about Spain, was it?
As for the Spanish vote, and voters, as if anyone in this country knew or cared enough about that subject to waste time with it in this forum ….. is the thread suggesting that the voters in Spain were wrong?
Hmm. Would the voters in this country have been “wrong” too if they had rejected the “liberation of Iraq” argument as a sufficient basis for war? (You know, we have to make it a hypothetical question, since the question was never posed before the war .. you know, when it would have been appropriate).
Hmm. How exactly does the American experiment work, again, when a few people in Washington get to decide things over the heads of the people, who after all, might be “wrong?”
Unless I’m missing something, we are now two-plus years into this war, and a majority of the citizens of the Western World don’t think it was a good idea. They are all wrong, too, I guess.
I am heartened — heartened! — by the confidence we display in the vesting of power in the people! I mean, if the Spanish voters had chosen 100% to zero to elect a new government, they might have replaced the French as a topic of jokes on the Tonight Show! Those stupid fucks!!
Fine, have it your way. The terrorists set the bombs off the weekend before the elections because they wanted to disrupt the gov’t, NOT because they wanted to affect the elections.
It had nothing to do with Spain sending troops to the war.
Whatever makes you sleep better at night, I guess.
“To date, despite all the rancor in the media about opposition to the war, in the big three, no one has paid a price, at least not at the election booth. Bush was re-elected and increased his margin of victory. John Howard, who is really Bush’s soulmate, was elected in Australia. And I see nothing that tells me Blair will not be re-elected today.”
Just because karma hasn’t caught up with these folks immediately doesn’t mean it won’t ever. And I’ve got a feeling when it strikes, it will strike with a vengeance.
Umm….Ok, Big Sky.
Again, only faintly glancing at comments above. Sorry. But the idea that Blair/Labor won’t suffer because of Iraq is completely ignorant and nuts. I don’t know who would maintain differently who is in touch with Britain.
Gary is spot on. I’ve just sat up all night following the election and there is no doubt that everyone, including most of the Labour politicians interviewed, believe Iraq has cost Blair votes. In addition Blair himself has become disliked (not just because of Iraq) which is why he has dragged Gordon Brown around with him for the last few weeks. ‘Magically’ we got the result most of us wanted. A chastened Labour government with a much reduced majority and the likelyhood of a change of leader within 18 months or so. Ain’t democracy great?
PS: Reynolds should stick to US politics or, better still, nanotechnology.