Zalaznick: War will come back to haunt GOP |

Zalaznick: War will come back to haunt GOP

Matt Zalaznick
Vail, CO Colorado

When we tire of hearing how crummy our economy is and the Democrats pick their historic nominee, John McCain and his Republican Party’s hopes of hanging onto the White House are going to get walloped.

By their own war.


Oh yeah ” the war, or wars.

There are two underway right now, remember? And who knows? Maybe Halliburton, expecting lean years during the coming Democratic administration, will demand another slew of reconstruction contracts. Maybe W. will start one more military fiasco ” in Iran? North Korea? China? Aruba? ” before history spits him out in Crawford.

And even though W. has demolished his party’s reputation for fiscal responsibility, the Republicans ” and Hillary, too ” should be thanking their lucky stars for the so-called subprime mortgage crisis and the recession that’s supposedly just over the horizon.

Our national depression has been redirected from bloodshed to financial anxieties that, though they’re a lot closer to home, are not as a scary as murder and mayhem and suicide bombers and religious fanaticism and intractable ethnic hatred.

But Iraq will be back, and if the Democrats aren’t a bunch of morons, they’ll nominate the candidate who has a clear record against a war that’s so unpopular most of us have just stopped talking about its tremendous cost and horrible repercussions.

So security’s a little tighter in Baghdad and death is down. Mission accomplished! A country that was not a threat has been pulverized into a slightly bigger threat. The nukes Saddam was never going to launch at us (because he didn’t have them) have been replaced by tens of thousands of civilian casualties and terrorists who are eager to kill our troops.

A new generation of Arab children, rather than pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, have been given a reason to despise Uncle Sam.

This fiasco has had McCain’s unflagging support. Hillary’s position has been at times calculating, at times Kerryesque. Obama, on the other hand, pretty much told us what was going to happen before it happened.

After eight years of Rambo foreign policy, Americans deserve someone in the White House who isn’t going to be as shocked and awed as W. was by cool explosions and embedded correspondents reporting hysterically from military convoys on how thick the dust is in the desert.

But perhaps Republicans shouldn’t kick themselves over the war. Their president will be leaving so many other failures behind that the GOP won’t be able to say, “Gee, if we’d just gotten the war right we might still be in charge.”

The GOP can look back on two-terms-worth of aiding and abetting and enabling the disaster that was George W. Bush. Instead of Karl Rove’s 1,000-year Republican Reich, the GOP can blame its demise on not improving education, not improving the economy; not showing any leadership on the environment or health care or civil rights or gay rights; for trying to solve social problems like teen pregnancy with unrealistic, 1950s ideas like celibacy.

Republicans can blame their collapse on devaluing American life by co-opting the barbaric, intolerant values of the religious right; and for then demoralizing the nation with Larry Craig’s, David Vitters’, Bob Ney’s, Duke Cunningham’s, Scooter Libby’s and Mark Foley’s inability to live up to GOP’s own strict moral code.

Republicans can blame their fade into irrelevancy on letting W. and thugs like Rudy Giuliani and Darth Cheney use 9/11 as a political sledgehammer to scare America into stupidity while they pillaged and plundered from the Potomac to Pyongyang.

And on top of all that, we’re no closer to Mars today than we were when, in 2004, W. vowed to put an American on the red planet. But perhaps that was just symbolic ” W.’s been in outer space for most of his presidency.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or

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