The Corner

WFB on Iraq and Republicans

The whole column is worth reading:

The political problem of the Bush administration is grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue. The opinion polls are savagely decisive on the Iraq question. About 60 percent of Americans wish the war ended — wish at least a timetable for orderly withdrawal. . . . It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. . . .  General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can’t see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters? . . .  The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.

Bill’s political analysis rests in part on his analysis of the impossibility of winning the war; but it also rests in part on his reading of the polls, which don’t seem to me as “savagely decisive” as he thinks they are. On Friday, Cliff May posted some poll results that go in the other direction, and taken together they suggest some ambivalence about Iraq policy.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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