Commentary Magazine


Republican Fortunes

To the Editor:

John Podhoretz writes that the Republicans “have no hope of prevailing” in the November presidential election unless they stand “as tribunes of an American victory in Iraq” [“The Election, the GOP—and Iraq,” March]. He seems to miss the significance of what has occurred in the political landscape over the last eight years. During George Bush’s two terms in office, the GOP has (1) turned its back on fiscal conservatism, converting budget surpluses into the most massive deficits in history; (2) taken the national debt from $4.8 trillion and falling in 2000 to a projected $10 trillion and rising by the fall; (3) committed the U.S. to an ill-justified war in Iraq and made a complete mess of it; (4) created a reservoir of distrust of America throughout the world; and (5) done more to undermine liberty in the name of security than any administration in my lifetime. In November, the Republicans stand to receive a well-deserved rebuke from the electorate, and it is unlikely that John McCain can head it off by going “all in” with the unpopular Iraq war.

Gordon Black
St. Thomas,
U.S. Virgin Islands

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To the Editor:

John Podhoretz offers several reasons why the Republican party’s prospects in the upcoming presidential election may be dim. I can think of another: for most of the past eight years, the GOP has controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, and yet it has failed to solve some of the major problems facing the country—Social Security and Medicare shortfalls, the national debt, and immigration policy, to name a few. If you have demonstrated that you cannot do the job, why should you be rehired? Arguing that the other side might do even worse does not generate voter enthusiasm.

John Polt
Oakland, California

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To the Editor:

John Podhoretz makes a persuasive case for the Republican candidate to run on the success of the surge in Iraq. But John McCain’s reluctance to do so in a full-throated manner may stem from the fear that the recent decline in violence in Iraqi cities may be a blip rather than a substantial trend.

Jerome Yurow
Rockville, Maryland

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To the Editor:

John Podhoretz argues that the GOP must campaign for the presidency on the strength of the surge in Iraq. But, to the contrary, the surge is definitive proof that the occupation of Iraq was undermanned from the start. And yet not even John McCain, who believes that we should stay and win in Iraq, is promoting a substantial increase in our troop presence there, which is the real key to our prevailing.

Rex Carruthers
St. Louis, Missouri

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To the Editor:

John Podhoretz is right to argue that the Republicans must stand as “tribunes of an American victory in Iraq” in campaigning for the presidency. It is amazing that this fundamental point seems to be lost on so many pundits. As Patton said: “America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.” Given the importance of our mission in Iraq and the progress that has been made to date, abject defeatism is unwarranted—and it has never been a path to electoral victory.

Ben Orlanski
Los Angeles, California

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