Keeping Terror on the Boil

Interesting audio file on the BBC site about the likely role of the Iraq War and war on terror in campaigning for the US mid-term elections.

It looks like the Republicans will be banging home the issue, despite the disastrous handling of the Phase 4 post-conflict situation in Iraq. The problem for the Democrats is that they won’t be able to resist taking the bait and getting sucked into a one-issue campaign – on an issue where they are hopelessly divided. The Connecticut Democrat primary was fought over the war in Iraq and exposed the faultlines which run through the party.

The Democrats, sensing some easy soundbites, are unlikely to shift the focus away from terror, despite the fact that the economy is now cited as the number-one worry for the US public. And even if the party were willing to try campaigning on new areas, the news agenda and public debate are increasingly set by the triumvirate of think-tanks, shock jocks and cable news.  

Coupled with his recent ‘bring it on’ attitude – the admission of a global network of prisons and drawing out comparisons between Bin Laden and Hitler – Bush and his aides are also taking time out to get down to a bit of ‘terror branding’, fishing around desperately for something catchier than “a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology”.

Criticising the incumbent government, rather than coming up with policy programmes, is the what the game’s all about for the Democrats; no real power is up for grabs at the mid-terms, as the executive remains unchanged, but by taking control of one or both parts of Congress, the Democrats could turn Bush into a lame duck through power of veto. 

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~ by Daniel on September 7, 2006.

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