Friday, August 19, 2005

Trouble in the Heartland or the "Walter Cronkite Effect"

Jeremy over at Charging RINO takes a good view at what constituents in Nebraska are telling Republican Senator and 2008 hopeful Chuck Hagel about the situtation in Iraq. Look at what some Nebraskans are saying:

Earlier the same day in Lincoln, an elderly woman asked about Iraq. "Why are we there in the first place?" she asked.

On Tuesday in the central Nebraska town of Lexington, after a meeting with law enforcement officials on drug problems, three sheriffs expressed serious doubts about what the United States was doing in Iraq and whether it could succeed.

Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, acknowledged the U.S. military presence was becoming harder and harder to justify. He believes Iraq faces a serious danger of civil war that would threaten Middle East stability, and said there is little Washington can do to avert this.

"We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should," he said at one stop.

The article goes on to interview Hagel on his own views which are ones of questioning the Bush Adminstration's policy in Iraq.

This was before my time, but it has been told that sometime in the late 60s as the Vietnam War was at its peak, CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite denounced the war as a big mistake. President Lyndon Johnson, upon hearing a former staunch supporter , tun against the war is rumored to have said that the war was now lost.

Nebraska is as "red" a state as one can get. It is a solid Republican state. One has to wonder if a state as loyal to the GOP if this wavering on the current war in Iraq could have the same effect as Walter Cronkite's change of heart nearly four decades ago.

While I can't prognosticate on that, it does seem that the constant stream of bad news from Iraq could sour prospects for the GOP next year, during midterm elections.

An article in Thursday's New York Times shows it could be rought sailing for the GOP. The Times talked to a few members of Congress, and here is what they have to say:

"There is just no enthusiasm for this war," said Representative John J. Duncan Jr., a Tennessee Republican who opposes the war. "Nobody is happy about it. It certainly is not going to help Republican candidates, I can tell you that much."

Representative Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Maryland Republican who originally supported the war but has since turned against it, said he had encountered "a lot of Republicans grousing about the situation as a whole and how they have to respond to a lot of questions back home."

"I have been to a lot of funerals," Mr. Gilchrest said.

Representative Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican who initially supported the war but has begun calling for a pullout, said, "If your poll numbers are dropping over an issue, and this issue being the war, than obviously there is a message there - no question about it."

"If we are having this conversation a year from now," Mr. Jones added, "the chances are extremely good that this will be unfavorable" for the Republicans.

Of course, the elections are still over a year away and anything could happen. However, the recent near victory of an Iraqi War Veteran in an Ohio congressional special election in what was thought to be a solidly Republican districts shows there is a bad feeling among the public on this war and unless the Amdnistration can come up with some solid objectives and goals towards getting the job done and getting out, could spell trouble in the future.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

As we used to say in Wisconsin where I grew up, the politicians are heading for the round barn 'cuz nobody can corner them there.

You are correct. When Cronkite switched over to opposing the war, that was the beginning of the end. However, you also have to remember that one only got television news through Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and whomever was at ABC at the time.

You did not have CNN, FOX, 24-hour talking heads, "analysts" from every corner of the gene pool who look great in their Armani suits or Claiborne dresses, but have the IQ of a kumquat.

Most of today's issue is that each segment of each party has "their" people on these shows and that just fuels the divisiveness. That's what *they* want because it draws viewers.

Think about this: if the Iraq situation disappeared completely (irrespective of the outcome), what would these people have to talk about? How would they make a living?


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