Tuesday, July 10, 2007

McGovern: Anti-War Democrat Might be in Trouble in 08

Even a stopped clock...

Among those who worry that the lessons of 1972 may still spell trouble for Democrats in 2008 is none other than … George McGovern. He is 84 now, is as opposed to the Iraq war as he was to the one in Vietnam -- and is paying close attention to the race for president.

"I'm not sure that an anti-war Democrat can win," McGovern said in an interview. "We haven't proved that yet..."

But some political analysts say they believe the McGovern experience could be repeated again, as the party's presidential candidates compete to win the favor of anti-war Democrats while leaving themselves vulnerable to charges of weakness in a general election.
The Politico mentions that Democrats are trying to walk a fine line: opposing the Iraq war while preserving national security bona fides by calling for stepped up action in Afghanistan. But that's a nuanced position which can be challenging to sell in the best of circumstances.

That's so for a variety of reasons -- partly because it's silly to claim that Afghanistan is more important, partly because Democrats are going back on their commitment to stepped up focus on Afghanistan, stepping back from their commitment to the ISG recommendations, foreswearing military action against Iran, and seem to have forgotten how worried they were about North Korea when they were running last year.

Democrats will have a hard time convincing the nation that they can seriously fight terror because they are quick to renounce the use of force to back up their diplomacy. As Libya, North Korea, and other examples show, Republicans can use diplomacy when they regard it as the right tool. But while the Democrats have a ton of credibility on using diplomacy, they're not credible in threatening the use of force. The American people will have a hard time accepting a presidential candidate who can't be believed on both.

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