They Were Right About Iraq! Git 'Em!


The ever-perceptive W. James Antle III (read his reason stuff here) makes an observation that's been made on this blog—every single Republican who opposes the Iraq War or even just the surge is facing a primary opponent, rarin' to punish him for his heresy. (Eric Dondero makes a cameo.)

If the ranks of antiwar Republicans have barely grown since public opinion began shifting, this ferocious response may be the reason. When the Democrats gave Jones and other antiwar GOP congressmen some of their allotted time to speak against the surge, The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti warned about "Move-On Republicans" (in reference to the left-wing group), whose rhetoric is "indistinguishable from that of the antiwar Democrats."

The 17 GOP congressmen who voted against the surge—or for a "defeatist resolution," as the single-issue hawks prefer to put it—were swiftly denounced as "White Flag Republicans" by a group called the Victory Caucus. Although it doesn't have the resources of the anti-tax Club for Growth or various social conservative organizations, outfits like the Victory Caucus hope to play a similar role in pushing incumbents to adopt the party's majority viewpoint.

Ah, there's the rub. There was a Victory Caucus, and there have been a few other small pro-war "coalitions" launched over the last year or so, but none of them have gathered any momentum whatsoever. So there's no Ned Lamont or MoveOn metric to keep tabs on. Is it because Republicans are more worried about gaining back their majority than beating up traitors? No, Lamont/MoveOn took off when Democrats were in the deep minority. Is it because the GOP base isn't as active online? Hm. Maybe a little. Is it because it's more divided on Iraq than the Democrats? That's probably the reason. Virtually no Democrats want to slog it out in Iraq while a healthy 30 percent or so of Republicans have lost confidence in the war.