Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Never Love a Stranger

Oh dear, it appears that Bill Safire is desperate to give ammunition to those of us that think that he is loosing it. The recent appearance of Brooks on the op-ed page may suggest that the editors share this view.

As Safire smuggly admits, he is not a dispassionate observer, he is a pro-Bush partisan who wants to see the Democrats suffer a 'debacle'. It is worth remembering that in 1968 the Democrats were frequently heard hoping that the GOP would nominate Nixon, the candidate they thought they had the best chance of beating.

It is very clear that contrary to his protestations, Saffire is worried by Dean. He protests too much and too loudly.

The comparisons between Nixon and Dean are interesting and extensive. They do not appear to extent to burgalry, treason or hiring Safire but Nixon certainly did not fight either the 1968 or the 1972 campaign as a pro-war candidate. Nixon ran AGAINST the war both times, the first time offering 'peace with honor' and a secret plan to end the war. McGovern did not loose in 1972 because he was anti-war, Nixon was anti-war. McGovern lost because the electorate believed that Nixon would quickly end the war.

Nixon could get away with this because he did not start the Vietnam war, that was LBJ. Nixon's war platform in 1968 is identical to Dean's: I am the best candidate to fix a situation that was created by a war we should never have started.

Moreover one wonders if Saffire will be quite as confident on the importance of the economy as an issue if next quarter's results look more like the previous three quarters rather than the last one. I suspect that then we will see a return to beating the 'GOP wars are good for you' drum, or trying to pretend that the corporate war profiteering in Iraq is a fiction.

The anti-war protests are very different to those of Vietnam. Almost nobody is asking 'what are we doing to Iraq'. The issue is what the war is doing to America and to American lives. The war is costly in both money and lives. The US is clearly not in a position to withdraw without leaving a situation far worse than we started with. It is not worth a thousand US lives and half a billion dollars to replace Saddams Dictatorships with some Ayatollah's theocracy.

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