Skip to comments.The Antiwar Right Is Ready to Rumble
Posted on 11/08/2004 9:37:29 AM PST by tpaine
The Antiwar Right Is Ready to Rumble
November 7, 2004 The Antiwar Right Is Ready to Rumble By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
ROUND 8 p.m. Tuesday, a gloomy mood was settling over the dozen conservative stalwarts gathered with martinis and glasses of red wine in an office in Arlington, Va., to watch the returns. Early exit polls showed President Bush trailing, and Richard Viguerie, dean of conservative direct mail, thought he knew who was to blame: the neoconservatives, the group associated with making the case for the invasion of Iraq.
"If he loses, they are going to have a bull's-eye on their back," Mr. Viguerie said.
Ronald Godwin, a top aide to Dr. Jerry Falwell, agreed. "I see a real battle for the Republican Party starting about Nov. 3," he said.
The euphoria of Mr. Bush's victory postponed the battle, but not for long. Now that Mr. Bush has secured re-election, some conservatives who say they held their tongues through the campaign season are speaking out against the neoconservatives, against the war and in favor of a speedy exit.
They argue that the war is a political liability to the Republican Party, but also that it runs counter to traditional conservatives' disdain for altruist interventions to make far-off parts of the world safe for American-style democracy. Their growing outspokenness recalls the dynamics of American politics before Vietnam, when Democrats first became identified as doves and Republicans hawks, suggesting to some the complicated political pressures facing the foreign policy of the second Bush administration.
"Clearly, the war in Iraq was a drag on votes, and it is threatening to the Bush coalition," said Grover Norquist president of Americans for Tax Reform and a strategist close to the administration who had not spoken up about the war's political costs before. He contended that the war reduced Mr. Bush's majority by 6 percentage points to 51 percent of the vote. Mr. Bush now has two years to "solve Iraq" to protect Republican candidates at the midterm elections, he said. His suggestions: withdrawing United States troops to safe citadels within Iraq or by "handing Falluja over to the Iraqis and saying, 'It's your headache.' "
On Thursday, Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation and chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, issued a call to conservatives for a serious debate about the administration's foreign policy. "The consequences of the neocons' adventure in Iraq are now all too clear," he said. "America is stuck in a guerrilla war with no end in sight. Our military is stretched too thin to respond to other threats. And our real enemies, nonstate organizations such as Al Qaeda, are benefiting from the Arab and Islamic backlash against our occupation of an Islamic country."
Proponents of the war, however, argued that Mr. Bush would not have won re-election without it because Americans did not want to change the commander in chief. "Bush's foreign policy decisions seem to have been exactly why he won this huge victory that he did," said the neoconservative David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He argued that candidates who opposed the war - Gov. Howard Dean the most, and Senator John Kerry to a lesser extent - suffered the biggest losses. IF the Democrats have silenced some of their loudest complaints about the war, however, some on the right said they were turning up the volume on their own previously muted objections.
"A lot of the antiwar conservatives had to hold their tongue during the campaign because the No. 1 goal was to get Bush re-elected," said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and an important conservative fund-raiser.
Even on the eve of the election, William F. Buckley Jr., founder of the National Review, was decorously edging closer to full-throated opposition to the war. "At War With What or Whom?'' was the headline of his column on Oct. 19.
A few months ago, Donald Devine, a vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, publicly apologized to Mr. Bush after it was reported that in disgust at the war he had failed to applaud a presidential speech. But in a column shortly before the election, Mr. Devine wrote that conservatives should vote for Mr. Bush precisely because he was likely to withdraw from Iraq sooner than Senator Kerry would.
Arguing that the president had dropped hints like a quickly retracted statement in a television interview about the impossibility of winning a war against terror, Mr. Devine argued that "the president's maddening repetition of slogans" about the war was the "only politically possible tactic for a candidate who has already made up his mind to leave at the earliest reasonable moment." He added: "The neoconservatives will be devastated."
But Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, dismissed those theories, pointing to the president's statement in his post-election news conference that troops would stay in Iraq as long as needed: "Our commanders will have that which they need to complete their missions," the president said.
Mr. Bush now has two years to "solve Iraq" to protect Republican candidates at the midterm elections, he said.
His suggestions: withdrawing United States troops to safe citadels within Iraq or by "handing Falluja over to the Iraqis and saying, 'It's your headache.' "
This is the rational solution to a non-problem.
Why should we care if Iraqis kill each other in tribal squabbles? They've been doing it for centuries.
So you're cool with the Iranian- and Syrian-backed thugs taking over in Iraq? Get real.
For mercy sake, format your Profile Page!!! Sheesh.
Same old garbage from Wahabbi-stooge Norquist and Friends.
It has nothing to do with altruism. It's a defense war in the enemy's territory.
This story is grat chowder for the true believers that are French and waiting to surrender to Democrats. I wish you subversive trolls would go away.
grat = great.
Very disappointing to see the ailing Weyrich join this crowd. Two years ago he slammed Norquist, now he joins him. Sad to see such little faith by some veterans on our side.
How long have you been posting here? And you believe something the NY Times writes about intramural squabbles within the conservative movement? The only time the Times notices the antiwar right is when they think they can act as a wedge against the GOP.
t, your FR Profile Page exploded! Yikes!
Didn't work out that way did it?
LOL You're right, it's a headache waiting to happen.
I think Grover just married an Arab girl recently. That might have something to do with his views, either as cause or effect.
This is the same Grover Norquist who sold out US national security for personal profit? If he's against the war, that's another reason for me to be for it.
I'd really appreciate a calm, rational discussion of the subject, without knee-jerk hysteria. But then I'd also like to be able to hold my breath for 15 minutes without passing, but I give that much of a chance either.:)
Richard Viguerie must still be miffed that Judicial Watch's lawsuit against Dick Cheney for his energy task force records got laughed out of court. Bitterness and embarrassment are poor motivators.
please, if you have one ounce of dignity, dont post crazy things like this, while our armed forces are FIGHTING to WIN, in Iraq, maybe even dying, in this mighty battle there today...
you are busy with your simple solutions, while these folks are busy battling for freedom from terrorism...
where DO YOU COWARDS COME FROM?? if you KNOW, please GO BACK..
Bush knows what he's doing. He's not going to weenie-out to appease a small gaggle of Weyrich's followers.
Sounds like this is as close as one is going to get for the neocons to admit why they wanted to go to war in the first place, to help get Bush re-elected.
And apparently you can throw Jerry Falwell into that little cabal.
Apparently this little group is hell bent on making some kind of political move to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
So you're cool with the Iranian- and Syrian-backed thugs taking over in Iraq? Get real.
How can they 'take over' if we are still there in our bases? Get rartional.
Oh this is rich, the New York Times loves the Buchanan Brigade all of a sudden.
I leave it that way to frustrate nit pickers.
The American Right does not consist of a handful of nervous Nelly halfvast pacifists. Neville Chamberlain was NOT one of us. This morning we have begun kicking Islamofascist patoot in Fallujah as we should have in March, 2004.
If we had lost this election it would have been over the loss of manufacturing jobs via "free trade" schemes and favoritism for executive suite obsessions with the old bottom line. That is why the Demonrats generally voted for the war and woe their tongues and keyboards out whining about money issues.
If we listen to the paleo-ostrich set, America is finished as a nation. Pacifism and national cowardice solve nothing for us and everything for our enemies.
It is the evil of the left that imagines man as merely an economic being. They have stolen friom the comfortable to provide bribes for all interest groups. The left expresses itself as flabbergasted when people in the heartland "vote against their interests." The left imagines that, unless you are a zillionaire Manhattanite and left social force you have no business worrying about anything but wages, welfare, health care, public schools, etc.
They are amazed that Jews of modest means care about Israel, that military veterans are proud of their service to civilization, that religious folk abhor baby slaughter and lavender "marriage," that most Americans find leftist forms of movies and popular entertainment vile. We are supposed to have economic tunnel vision so that we may be more efficiently bought by leftist political bribes.
Now, it is proposed that conservatives act as "economic man" and be saitisfied with smaller government and lower taxes. We are still religious folk. Many are veterans. Many are committed to israel as an American ally. We know that there is a right and there is a wrong. We also understand that "I am not my brother's keeper" is no more respectable or moral today than when uttered dishonestly by Cain.
If all that matters in politics is money, count me out.
The aging conservatives cited in the article are losing their nerve. Fortunately, many things are far more important than mere money.
No, the New York Times wants the Patsies to BE the GOP now; they're going to try to hang that "religious right" stuff around the GOP's neck for the next 4 years.
And, as we all know, the religious right will play right along.
I'm not a friend of Nordquist's faction.
Quick work in Iraq --
kill the bad guys, then get out --
sets a precedent
for Syria and
Iran -- get too thuggish and
they get "quick work," too!
The solution is a viable represntative democracy in Iraq. ANYTHING else is defeat.
Well, not anything. We could shoot their leaders, slaughter the Sunnis and the followers of Sadr, convert the survivors to Christianity and turn Iraq into our base to attack the terrorist supporting nations in the rest of the ME. To me this seems like the best long-term solution, but for some reason, only bloodthirsty ogres like me seem to like it.
You had to go and praise Grover Norquist.
I lost all respect for him (and anything else he has to say) on the day he wept aloud for open borders and amnesty for illegals, at CPAC.
Figures the NY TImes would like him...
Claiming that I'm a subversive troll makes you look like a fool.
I find it incredibly ironic and amusing that you used "rational" and "non-problem" (in describing Fallujah/Iraq) in the same sentence.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
I don't think the President needs these suggestions. He's not planning on maintaining the status quo anyway. My guess is that he'll set up permanent military installations along the Irani border, far from the Iraqi civilian population, and he'll let the Iraqis run their own country after the election in January.
It's interesting, though, that the NY Times concocts this imaginary scenario where conservatives are about to jump ship. I don't think it's going to happen.
Please pass along the details of this. If this statement is true, then this puts Grover Norquist in the same category as Richard Perle -- one of the architects of the Iraq war.
Afraid of competition?
Why don't you do us a favor and move to Canada with the anti-war (anti-American) left.
Your thoughts, like those expressed in this article, only embolden our enemies. Wheras, our Marines are fighting for Fallujah as we speak, and are killing many of the very terrorists who plot our destruction.
Your plan is pretty dopey, I gotta admit. And, I'm not being sarcastic.
It's their country, not ours.
Uh, no. The real intraparty war is coming with the demcorats, but the NY Times once agian lies and claims that everything is hunky dory for a party that just experienced a devastating loss.
Its ours if we want it.
And creating a representative democracy out of a bunch of tribal nutjobs in 3-4 years is your idea of a reasonable plan? I hope it works. It would be an ideal solution: undermine the remaining governments without firing a shot. But there are times I don't see much hope for it.
At least its more reasonable than retreating into citadels and watching the country go to hell around us. Maybe we could call them "Norquist forts."
How long have you been posting here?
Longer than dirt.
And you believe something the NY Times writes about intramural squabbles within the conservative movement?
No, -- I believe we will withdraw to our bases & let the Iraqis fight it out for control of their internal politics, -- if we are smart.
Actually I'd bet [& have been saying all along] that has been 'the plan' since day one.
No it's not. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis.
And, I'm also not for "converting" Muslims. Many of them already resent Christians, and U.S.-sanctioned conversion efforts would be a disaster.
STFU, Grover. Because Syria, Iran, and North Korea are all standing in line for their whuppin'. You idiot, do you really believe Iraq is the end of the anti-terror campaign?
Poetic. Gets the point across despite not knowing what it is.
Some ostriches missed the news of the huge trade deal between the ChiComs and Iran. Chinese will be more than happy to step in and dominate the Middle East if we cut and run. Russia steps in too.
Iran sells China discounted oil and China sells Iran the protection of it's nuclear umbrella and other high tech military goodies. Nuke technology, missile technology and more.
Before we can even think of converting anyone else to Christianity, we might think about converting ourselves here in the U.S. first.