Oops! We forgot….
The name of the game here in the US now is not governing, or economics, or infrastructure.
War is hell. It kills people, starves them, burns them, makes lives not worth living.
Paranoia is much the same. It can kill, starve, put people on the street and on the roads, separate families.
And it can be blamed on someone, sometime, somewhere.
You may recall last February Congress insisted that it have a voice in declaring whether the US was at war with ISIS. Congress felt its invaluable advice was being ignored by the president who repeatedly announced he had no strategy for winning in the Mideast. He didn’t. But Congress itself had nothing to offer beyond a nonbinding resolution to support the president. It took weeks to get this onto the floors of both houses, and when it was over, both houses turned away and resumed their decisive and divisive battles over healthcare, over education, taxes, over everything else but the war.
Now, sooner than we could ever have imagined, we are in the middle of the run-up to the elections of 2016, and no one wants to talk about the war against ISIS (except perhaps Lindsay Graham).
Here’s where politics intervenes and becomes the guiding principle of our times.
Our suspicion is that the Republican powers that be (Mitch McConnell in particular) are betting that the average voting citizen in the US cannot, and will not, in the end remember who started the war in the Mideast.
It wasn’t President Obama.
But if the Republicans come clean and admit that it was they who largely forced a “pre-emptive war” on George Bush, who eagerly accepted the doctrine as his own, egads! The people will remember. This is not good for the Republican candidates for 2016.
It’s not enough to have lost a war (see Iraq, 2003). The prospect of losing to ISIS in 2014 to 20-whenever reduces the images of the Republicans as being terrific in defense matters, and further reduces the likelihood that the public will vote to keep giving them chances to do the same thing over and over again. After all, when the Democrats were forced to accept the responsibility for the Viet Nam War, it took thirty years for them to even begin to make a come-back.
If the Republicans can manage to keep the country in a coma about the responsibility for the mess in the MidEast long enough, people will forget.
Remember, if we begin with a start date of 2003, younger voters will have to wait only until 2021 to be able to ratify this bogus version of our country’s history. They won’t know any better, and the Republicans are not here to straighten them out.
If the Republicans, through their diamond-encrusted megaphones, can manage to stay within a few points of the Democrats in 2016, they’ll have enough power left to mount a full-scale attack on Obama as perpetrator of everything evil.
We may see the number of 2016 candidates for the Republican nomination begin to dwindle fast, turn away from a debilitating fight to wait until a happier time when America has fallen once again into its Alzheimer’s state about recent events.
The first few to go may well be Rubio and Cruz, younger men who can afford to wait. Older candidates, sensing this as their last time at bat, will hang on.
And through the campaign of 2016, we’ll listen to the standard political debates rather than trying to sort out blame for something most are afraid to address. If, God forbid, ISIS grows stronger in the coming months, the Democrats can mount the hustings and put the responsibility where it belongs. This will not please Jeb Bush, who is also young enough to wait until the next round.
So what are we likely to witness?
Chaos and complete abandonment of foreign policy, which shoves us back on social issues on which the Republicans feel they do so well. One problem with this approach is that most of the nation, apart from the issue of race, has had it with sexual dalliance and school prayer, abortion and shovel-ready jobs. As for economic inequality, the Republicans would be well-advised to skip this, too. They have to. They can’t run a campaign dedicated to equalizing opportunities for all. That isn’t how they got where they are.
If they can just hang on, stay close enough to the race, they can in 2020 erect statues to George W. across the country and bury Obama in a cascade of blame, timidity, lack of foresight. It will be something to experience. An entire nation arguing about history. And lies.