Thursday, October 26, 2006

Consensus Now

According to opinon polls, Republicans are losing voting groups like white men and Catholics which were keys to their success. They are falling further behind with women, and even losing 10% of the previously rock solid Christian right. But it is the older voter that politicos believed would swing this election.

Now Reuters in the New York Times says that older citizens are likely to vote based not on age-specific issues like Medicare drug benefits, but on the same issue that dominates this election for all other age groups: the war in Iraq.

Pollsters haven't seen such cross-generational agreement since 1992, when pocketbook issues dominated in all age groups and helped put Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House and his party in control of both houses of Congress.

For the sixties generation in particular, statements like Donald Rumfeld's today will sound familiar. Under reporters' questioning over the apparent discrepancy of statements made by the Iraq prime minister saying his country hadn't agreed to benchmarks, and the Administrations contention that it had, Rumsfeld said, You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it's complicated."

How many times were we told by the Lyndon Johnson administration and then the Nixon administration that only they had the information and ability to judge how things were going in Vietnam and what U.S. policy should be. Yet it was clear then and it became clearer later, that they had ignored the information and perspectives available to them from experts in the region, in the history of colonial wars and so on, as well as the observations of what was happening in Vietnam made by reporters and researchers.

This is even more clearly the case in Iraq. Every major mistake the Bush administration has made was predicted and those predictions appeared on television and in newspapers and magazines, most of them before the war was launched. Yet their arrogance continues.

Americans aren't buying it anymore. Including the 60s generation, and older.