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Iran: Electoral Disaster for Dems?

[Cross posted, with poll, at Daily Kos]

Yaakov Kirschen's cartoon goes like this: "The optimists think that the US Presidential campaign will be about the war in Iraq, while the pessimists think it'll be about the war in Iran." Substitute "Democrats" for "optimists" and "Republicans" for "pessimists" and I think you have a prescription for Democratic electoral disaster.

Hear me out...

Flash forward 6-12 months: tensions are high with Iran; maybe we've had some cross border skirmishes (like the Turks vs. the PKK). Maybe we've concentrated more ships, planes and bombs into the Gulf region. I'm not a betting man but the odds seem pretty strong we'll see that, or worse, in the immediate future. Who's going to stop it? Congress? Riiiiiiight. This is the same bunch that couldn't even compel Harriet Miers to comply with a crappy subpoena.

So now tensions are high. Very high. We're talking 24/7 war mania. Of course, the media is no help. In fact, Murdoch's new WSJ business channel bangs the drums louder than anyone -- whatever is good for the corporation is good for America. Blackwater stock goes stratospheric.

Who do you think this help the most -- Democrats or Republicans? Or more to the point: which candidates does this help most? Don't shoot the messenger, but I'm here to tell you it's short list -- and it has more Republicans on it than Democrats:

  • Giuliani -- Death to Islamofascism. No more 9/11's.
  • McCain -- The son and grandson of Navy admirals, blah blah blah.
  • Clinton -- Stood (and will stand) shoulder-to-shoulder with the Commander in Chief
The rest of the field are (rightly or wrongly) perceived as lightweights. Not only that: the press will cast the story that way as well. Romney? Edwards? They cancel each other out as pretty boys. Obama bet on Iraq (being the optimist, see above, that he is) but he has no cred on Iran. Thompson? Compared to McCain and Giuliani, he's about exciting as a plate of grits. Dodd & Biden? I'd like to think they could stop Bush/Cheney via the Senate but I'm not counting on it. Richardson? His strength is his weakness -- he's a diplomat.

For those of you who were electoral optimists (see above) this is not good, my friends: McCain and Giuliani already poll relatively well against Clinton. A looming war with Iran helps them more than it helps her. Whichever one of them gets the nomination, all bets are off for an easy Dem takeover in the White House.

One bit of good news: I think Hillary Clinton intuitively sees these pieces on the chess board and is thinking several moves ahead. The others either don't -- or can't -- deal with it as it stands now.

Am I missing something here? I don't think so.

Bottom line: the worse the situation with Iran, the better it is for the Republicans in November 2008.


Well, for one thing, it quite possibly could be a shooting war by then.

The only things we know for sure are: 1) the Republican brand is in tatters, 2) their leaders are all batsh*t insane (the price of membership apparently), 3) the public mood runs from anxious to frightened and 4) the Democrats have failed so far (with the help of the brain-dead press) to build a leadership narrative for the country.

What is it you usually say about looking into crystal balls?

You eat broken glass.

But looking into a crystal ball is different than looking at a chess board.

No offence meant but, geopolitically, that's how the neoconservatives look at it and that's why they end up looking so stupid. Two people control a chessboard. A better metaphor would be an earth-sized game of pinball with a huge yet unknown number of balls in play at any moment. Unfortunately, the neocons never learned to work the flippers, which leaves only body english and the predictable result: TILT.

Pinball -- now that's what I'm talkin bout! I like the analogy.

As for chess, I was thinking of 32 pieces with an almost infinite number of possible moves...

But frankly chess always bored me. It was one of those games that was always more interesting to discuss than, you know, actually play. Too slow and ponderous.

Thanks, I was thinking of going with "house of cards" but then I realized that you win at pinball by keeping the balls pinging around like mad (it's hard on what the balls run over and into but so what) and the analogy seemed too perfect. They are getting filthy rich and powerful off of this game, if they somehow manage not to blow the whole thing up or get sent to The Hague.

I gave up chess after I started playing against the computer. Sheesh, talk about an exercise in futility.

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