The myth of the anti-war Democrats

The myth of the anti-war Democrats
: David Broder bursts the bubble of those who think there is a mass movement among Americans and particularly Democrats against the war:

Since Dean has emphasized his early opposition to the war in Iraq as his calling card in the race, it is easy to assume that his antiwar stand and his criticism of Lieberman, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards for supporting the resolution authorizing the use of force must account for his strong showing — especially in New Hampshire.

Wrong. When the Democracy Corps team asked whether voters in those three states wanted a Democratic nominee “who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning” or one “who supported military action against Saddam Hussein but was critical of Bush for failing to win international support for the war,” voters in all three states chose the second alternative. Dean’s position was preferred by only 35 percent of the likely voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary — fewer than supported it in Iowa or South Carolina — while 58 percent chose the alternative….

The fact that Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire are not reflexively opposed to our involvement in Iraq is underlined by the poll finding that, by a margin of 54 percent to 38 percent, they favor a nominee who “reluctantly supports” Bush’s $87 billion aid request over one who opposes it — while Iowa and South Carolina voters lean slightly the other way.

If it’s not his early antiwar stand that is powering Dean, what explains his lead in the Jan. 27 primary? The Democracy Corps poll strongly suggests it is the fact that the New Hampshire primary electorate — including many of those independents — is overwhelmingly liberal on social issues on which Dean has identified himself….

In short, it is cultural forces — far more than anything else — that explain Dean’s appeal in New Hampshire, forces that may tug the other way when the race moves to more typical battleground states.

We, the people, see things in grays. We, the people, are smarter than we’re portrayed to be. This is a complex issue and we, the people, know it. We’re being painted in black-and-white but it’s a false picture.

  • jsmith

    The majority of Democrats may not be reflexively opposed to war against Iraq, which is not an ignoble position. But they do seem to be desirous of giving others, notably the French, a veto over whether and how we choose to defend ourselves.
    That is an ignoble position.

  • jakob

    That’s a straw man. No one is saying that France or any other country should be able to keep us from defending ourselves. The question is whether “pre-emptive” war against Iraq was an act of self-defense. Since Iraq was not a real threat to us, I think not.

  • Marcel Perez

    I think we can all agree that something had to be done about getting rid of a despots like Saddam, his maniacal sons, and their political cronies.
    The problem was failing to sell the message to the rest of the world with a covincing action plan. The guise of chasing Weapons of Mass Destruction never was convincing from the beginning because the proof was supposed to appear as we liberated the land and discovered all the hiding places of massive quantities of forbidden weapons. This never happened and we are still hopefully searching.
    To my way of thinking, the French are a non-player in the issues of conduct of the war, the reestablishment of order or the reconstruction of the country. If the French want to donate money to help finance the massive reconstruction costs they can do so for humanitarian reasons.
    Our message to the French should be “Too little, Too late – Too bad”.