I’m delighted to see Glenn Reynolds writing a “pre-mortem” on the Republicans’ election fate; may the words pass directly from his keyboard to God’s browser. Also, the post speaks well for Glenn’s willingness to call ’em as he sees ’em, at least sometimes. Perversely, I’m also glad that Honorary Republican House Member (Class of 1974) Rush Limbaugh is giving Glenn a taste of the Limbaugh treatment Glenn never seems to object to when it’s used on someone else. (How unlikely is it that Limbabble is really too whacked to know that Glenn’s blog is called InstaPundit? But pretending not to know belittles Glenn, and Rushbo is the master belittler of our era.)
But no one (that I’ve seen) has commented on the most surprising — one might almost say clinically significant — feature of the “pre-mortem.” Glenn provides a list of six reasons the GOP is likely to get creamed: Schiavo, Harriet Miers Dubai Ports, immigration, William Jefferson (i.e., Hastert’s objection to the FBI search), and Foleygate. Do you notice something missing from that list?
That invading Iraq looked like a reasonable option on the information available in March of 2003 is still arguable (though I’d distinguish between the information available to the public and the information available to the Administration). It seems to me obvious that the decision was wrong in retrospect and that the situation in Iraq is going from bad to worse, but if Glenn wants to argue those points I won’t call him crazy.
By contrast, the question of what’s killing the Republicans this year is partly answerable from available data. No one who has looked at the polls or talked to the pols doubts that Iraq is the great anchor dragging the Republicans down. A list of reasons the GOP is losing that omits Iraq is like a list of oceans that omits the Pacific. And there’s no political cost to the Republicans in admitting that; they can and do claim that the war policy is right but unpopular, and blame its unpopularity on (variously) a biased press, carping Democrats, and the lack of fortitude of their fellow-citizens (though they don’t usually make the last point that bluntly).
So I can only conclude that Glenn genuinely doesn’t believe that his pet war has been a political disaster for the party that sponsored it. Bizarre.