Many have asserted that the GOP must nominate an anti-war candidate in order to win the 2008 Presidential election. This has almost become conventional wisdom that Republicans must run away from Iraq because the public will hold them accountable for the war.
If we ignore our own personal opinions about the war, the polls do not seem to line-up with that line of thinking.
Going into the State of the Union last night with some of his lowest approval ratings ever, President Bush gave a speech that stressed victory in Iraq. It was well received by 78% of viewers.
Specifically on Iraq, 51% said they were very or somewhat confident that the US will achieve its goals in Iraq. After all of the negative news, after members of the President’s own party jumping ship, still a majority (albeit a tiny one) thinks the US will, not just can, achieve its goals in Iraq.
As far as the 2008 election goes, look at the front runners for both parties. Sen. Hillary Clinton is the leading candidate for the Democrats. While, she may be distancing herself from it, she voted for the war. Those candidates that voted against the war are much farther down the list.
The same is true, only more distinct, in the GOP. The politicians who have come out most heavily against the war have virtually no chance of winning the nomination.
If supporting the war in Iraq is political suicide, why isn’t Dennis Kucinich the presumed Democratic winner and Chuck Hagel the Republican nominee?
While, many may not like or support the war in Iraq it does not appear to be the end-all-be-all for the upcoming elections. That may change and it could change quickly, either way, but for now pro-war positions are not hurting candidates as much as it was expected.