The conventional wisdom endlessly repeated in the media is that Iraq has faded as an issue in this election and that the voters are much more concerned about the economy. Well, they may be concerned about the economy but according to the undecided voter's instant reactions to the vice-presidential debate last night they still have very strong feelings about Iraq.
As reported by Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com:
After the presidential debate last week, GOP pollster Frank Luntz said on Fox that, among undecided voters, Obama's strongest moments and McCain's weakest came when they clashed on Iraq, and later said that it is simply impossible for the GOP to win any debate on Iraq. Last night, GOP strategist Alex Castellanos on CNN said after the debate: "You know, Republicans aren't going to win debates on Iraq. I don't care who you put on that stage tonight, we're not going to win debates on Iraq, and we didn't tonight." And most notably, the best reaction Biden produced from the CBS focus group was when he demanded withdrawal from Iraq, and the worst reaction Sarah Palin produced was when she then spat out her tired right-wing slogan that Obama's withdrawal "plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq."
Undecided voters in CBS's focus group who were turning dials to record their second-by-second reactions to the debate twisted the Sarah Palin dial sharply toward maximum disapproval when she labeled a call for the US to withdraw from Iraq "a white flag of surrender."
John McCain had no trouble throwing out a lifetime of being against government regulation of business and markets to become a born-again regulator. But he apparently cannot abandon his support for our occupation of Iraq in spite of its unpopularity with the public and his sinking poll numbers.
What sort of people are these Republicans? It sometimes seems as though they would do anything to win an election, but obviously there is one thing they will not do—advocate withdrawing our troops from Iraq. What sort of values are these?