For What it’s Worth (Probably Not Much)

By Too Conservative

I’ve been travelling the past ten days on business and family matters. The latter requirements took me off my usual pathways to the Midwest where it was fascinating to observe Congressional and statewide races in the Heartland. A number of congressional races in what I thought would be solid Republican areas do indeed seem to be hotly contested, with polls giving Democratic challengers either small leads or putting them within the margin of error. Talking to cousins and friends who haven’t voted other than Republican in their lifetimes (and, for that matter, whose ancestors never voted anything but Republican) indicates that the general problem is concern about Iraq. Virginia, with its substantial military presence in our communities, certainly sees casualty lists almost daily. What I didn’t fully appreciate is the degree to which even small communities in Indiana and Ohio are also feeling the pain of loss of their youngsters. Everyone seems to know someone who has died or has been horribly wounded in Iraq, even out in the farmlands and in small county seat towns. (Part of this is explained by the fairly common experience of enlistment of high school graduates from these areas in the all-volunteer military and the high degree to which the U.S. has been using National Guard and Reserve units in Iraq.)

 You can have a reasonable and informed discussion with people about the demands of combatting international terrorism, but I heard more people than I expected (especially from this demographic) vehemently rejecting the premise that the initial invasion of Iraq was a necessary element of anti-terrorist policy. This obviously is a totally unscientific, tiny sampling, but I report it here just to say that there’s no denying that foreign policy issues are playing in the middle of the country more perceptibly than usual. Many of these people never wavered in their support for Viet Nam and rarely express much political interest in foreign policy (unless it affects agricultural exports, a subject about which they are far more sophisticated than most Northern Virginians I know). Â

What offsets this is that the Democrats (God bless ’em) have not connected with my random, teeny-tiny sample in terms of having any answers. One of my childhood friends, a prosperous farmer and Viet Nam veteran, said: “A lot of us may vote Democrat just to send a warning shot that we’re tired of the messand the ass-covering BS, but we don’t hear any Democrat with better ideas than Republicans about what to do about it now that we’ve gotten into it. In two years, we’ll probably go back to being Republicans if they run anyone with half a brain.” This “warning shot” theme was repeated several times over five days, sometimes using the same phrase.Â

Not sure this has any grand political meaning, but I found it interesting. Â


  • Your observations echo what I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who’ve been through the mid-west or the Ohio river valley lately. My sense is that a majority of these people will break for Democrats this time around if only on the premise that even if nobody in the car has directions, it’s just a bad idea to let the guy who got you lost in the first place keep driving.

    We (Democrats) are probably going to pick up one or both houses of Congress in 6 weeks. But you hit the nail on the head with the observation that this is not a durable majority that is about to be put together. If our victory is spun and misinterpreted as some massive embrace of all liberal ideas then we will go way overboard in Washington and get booted out in 2008. But if we’re realistic about the moderation and the pragmatical approach which is required by our newer Democratic voters then we will probably be able to hold on to this thing for a while.

    Either way, you win. Not the Republican party as an organization but conservatives generally stand to be pretty happy in either event. Should we go overboard then you’ll get power back in 2008. If we don’t go overboard then that means that we’re probably moving ahead with centrist or occasionally right-leaning policy that a lot of conservatives are pretty ok with. It would be the silencing of the Nancy Pelosi/Ted Kennedy Democrats. You’d like that, right?

    We’re just not crafty enough or brutal enough as a party to hold on to power any other way than by giving moderate Republicans enough to keep them happy.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    Nicely crafted comment, Jackson. I have mixed feelings about silencing the Nancy Pelosi wing of your party. My first reaction is that I’d be thrilled. Then darker, more selfish motives begin to assert themselves and I think, if they ditch Pelosi and her types, they might be very, very formidable competitors. So maybe you should keep her around until I get to the old folks home and can concentrate on keeping my drool cup from overflowing. Shouldn’t be more than a few years, now.

  • James Young says:

    That’s an interesting post. So many appeared to have bought into the Democrat myth that “the premise [of] the initial invasion of Iraq was a necessary element of anti-terrorist policy.” Of course, it never was. I suppose they also believe that the Administration said that Iraq was an “imminent” threat to, even though attributing such statements to the Administration is demonstrably false.

    While I would expect that those subjected to the constant media barrage misrepresenting the Administration’s arguments would knuckle under (after all, a majority now believes that Justice Thomas harassed Anita Hill), I am somewhat surprised that someone who makes pretensions to being informed would do so.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    These people are not very pretentious, James. they tend to be salt of the earth types.

  • James Young says:

    I’m not talking about them, Jonathan. YOU’RE the one who mentioned “the premise [of] the initial invasion of Iraq was a necessary element of anti-terrorist policy,” yet apparently made no effort whatsoever to disabuse them of their misconceptions.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    You’re overreading it, Timothy. I was recounting comments of others.

  • James Young says:

    “Timothy”? Who’s “Timothy”?

  • NoVA: I blogged the same kind of anecdotal evidence on my blog, Deo Vindice, recently. Based on observation from Tidewater where folks didn’t dispute the reason for going in to Iraq, but the mismanagement, Wilsonian rhetoric, and false expectation during and since invading.

  • Timothy says:

    I’m Timothy. Who’s askin’?

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