Monday, January 08, 2007

The void

As the 2008 Presidential campaign has kicked into high gear we've noticed a gaping void in the GOP's Presidential conversation. While Iraq is clearly the issue of the day in the mainstream media, and certainly the issue that will most clearly define the rest of the Bush presidency as well as the next administration, the GOP 2008 portion of the blogosphere has been very quiet on the issue.

Instead of discusing this meaningful, momentous issue blogs instead have focused on Mitt-flops, McCain/Kennedy, Rudy's personal travails, and the need for a CCA. So with the President's big speech coming this week, we thought it was time to put the issue up front.

The GOP 2008 set is not engaging in the same discussion as the D's on this issue. There's no back in forth on draw-down vs. troop surges, timelines, strategy etc... The one candidate who is outfront on this issue is John McCain. McCain has put himself on the line with his "urge to surge." So much so the Democrats have pinned the troop surge on his head, calling it the "McCain Doctrine." As the candidate with a clearly defined stance on this issue, his neck is on the chopping block. He has said for nearly 4 years that we need more troops, was out front with criticism of Rumsfeld, and has outlined certain things that need to be done for the mission to be accomplished.

The other main players have been varying degrees of silent.

Mitt Romney is "not going to weigh in yet."

Sam Brownback said a troop buildup "could be an acceptable plan" but added that an increase "seems shortsighted if its only purpose is to impose military order without also moving toward a political equilibrium." (Now there's a strong opinion)

Rudy said that "John and I pretty much have the same view on the war, as far as I can tell. And added, "I think in a very deliberate way, what's a better strategy, how do we succeed in Iraq, what can we learn from the mistakes we may have made, and then as we go forward, do a better job of creating a stable situation in Iraq." (not a lot of substance there.)

Huckabee has been quiet, Gilmore has talked more about the WOT generally, and Thompson can't stop talking health care and energy.

One would think that those we are putting forth to lead our country would have more nuanced views and a more in-depth discussion about the defining issue of this decade. Why the silence? And why aren't we insiders and activists demanding at least a thorough discussion on the topic?

8 Comments:

Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

Lots of good stuff on Mitt's fundraising over at the Hotline blog today. You guys should check it out.

We'll have a post up on it tomorrow.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous I like to be all things to all people said...

Of course Mitt won't weigh in yet, he has to figure out where most of the people are and then agree so that in two or three years he can change his mind again.

What a man of conviction!

4:04 PM  
Blogger Obilisk18 said...

Or perhaps he's waiting until Bush officially announces his plan, so there will be an increased spotlight on presidential candidates weighing in? If I had his ability to articulate, and came off so well in front of a camera, I'd wait til as many people as possible were paying attention to discuss the pre-eminent issue of the day. Just an idea.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

But no comment at all obilisk? No preliminary ideas? Nothing?

You don't find that strange?

6:49 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

The one potential candidate that has been talking about Iraq the most (both recently and for the last four years) is Chuck Hagel. He has been critical of the President on Iraq, and it looks like he may well have been right. The problem is that he has been shunned by many in the party due to his criticism. So while there may be many other Republicans who agree with him, those holding office seem reluctant to speak out, perhaps wanting to avoid what has happened to him.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Obilisk18 said...

Romney has talked about Iraq quite extensively in speeches and interviews. He's criticized the Iraq study plan, for various reasons, in at least a National Review interview and a Human Events interview. What he hasn't done is come up with a specific prescription for Iraq. This doesn't surprise me. Mitt is a datahead, as shown by a recent article titled "Mr. Powerpoint Goes To Washington". I would espect someone with that mindset to be quite deliberate about contemplating the most significant issue of the day. The last thing he can afford is to come off as a lightweight on foreign policy. Which means, watching, waiting, and considering. I suspect we'll hear a much more detailed plan after Bush's official policy announcement.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlie - Let's do this again...Hagel has VietNam disease. He's Rip VanWinkle. He's been asleep since the 70's. We don't care that Iraq has been difficult. GW told it would be difficult. We understand what is at stake like Winston Churchill did in World War II. If you think you are going to win based on Republicans deciding the job is too tough, you are a nonstarter. If we decide we can't win the war, like the democrats have decided, there is no safety net for us any longer. Iran will send that nuke here instead of to Isreal.

We don't need pussies as leaders. We need a leader who understands what is really going on with islamofascism.

Does Chuck think if we pull out they will go away? Of course not. They'll be very emboldened to come to America. They would be correct that America is a paper tiger (an Osama quote).

Frankly, ALL of the 08'ers are pussies to not be talking about what they'd do. It's THE issue in 08 and the one who has no fear in leading to it will win.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

Fair enough obilisk, but we could point you to a number of articles besides the won we linked to where Mitt begs off answering that question..

8:12 PM  

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