Usually, not always, the peace party wins.
Gen. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta and March to the Sea ensured Abraham Lincoln’s re-election in 1864.
William McKinley, with his triumph over Spain and determination to pacify and hold the Philippines, easily held off William Jennings Bryan in 1900.
Yet Woodrow Wilson won in 1916 on the slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War!” And Dwight Eisenhower won a landslide with his declaration about the stalemate in Harry Truman’s war: “I shall go to Korea.”
Richard Nixon pledged in 1968 that “new leadership will end the war and win the peace.” Vice President Hubert Humphrey, behind by double digits on Oct. 1, promised to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. He united his party and closed the gap to less than a point by Election Day.
George McGovern ran as an antiwar candidate in 1972. By November, almost all U.S. troops were home from Vietnam, however, and in late October Henry Kissinger had announced, “Peace is at hand.” Nixon had expropriated the peace issue. Result: 49 states.
Today, after the longest wars in our history in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are sick over the 6,500 dead and 40,000 wounded, fed up with the $2 trillion in costs, and disillusioned with the results that a decade of sacrifice has produced in Baghdad and Kabul.
Aware of this war weariness, especially among women, President Obama and Vice President Biden seem intent on appearing before the nation on Election Day as the sole peace party. This fact leaps out of a close read of Biden’s debate transcript.
Lost in his manic grinning and mocking laughter at Paul Ryan’s points and rude interruptions was a recurring theme: President Obama ended the war in Iraq and is dialing back the war in Afghanistan, but Ryan and Romney seem to be looking to new military interventions in Syria and Iran.
Consider but a few Biden comments nestled in the transcript of his half of that 90-minute debate.
“The last thing we need now is another war.”
“Are you (Ryan) ... going to go to war?”
“We will not let them (the Iranians) acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he’s (Ryan) talking about going to war.”
“War should always be the absolute last resort.”
“He (Ryan) voted to put two wars on a credit card.”
“We’ve been in this war (Afghanistan) for over a decade. ... We are leaving in 2014, period.”
About intervention in Syria, Biden said: “The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East, requiring tens of thousands if not well over a hundred thousand American forces.”
This drumbeat, implying Romney and Ryan are champing at the bit to get into the war in Syria or into a new war with Iran, was deliberate.
Biden’s words almost surely reflect what Democratic focus groups, pollsters, political analysts and pundits are advising the party to say and do: Play the peace card Monday night in Boca Raton, Fla., and tag Romney-Ryan as a trigger-happy ticket of the war party.
The charges Romney is likely to hear from the president and the questions he is likely to face from the moderator, pushing him toward bellicosity, are not that difficult to discern.
“Governor, President Obama has said Iran will not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. You have said Iran will not be allowed to have a ‘nuclear weapons capability.’ What is the difference? Doesn’t Iran already have the capability to produce a nuclear weapon? What will you do about it?”
“Governor, Paul Ryan said in his debate Iran ‘is racing toward a nuclear weapon.” But 16 U.S. intelligence agencies said in 2007 and reaffirmed in 2011 that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. What is your evidence that Iran is ‘racing toward a nuclear weapon?’”
“Governor, you have said of America and Israel, ‘The world must never see daylight between our two nations.’ Does that mean if Israel attacks Iran, you would take us to war on Israel’s side?”
“Governor, at VMI you said, ‘In Syria, I will work ... to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.’ Would you give surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian rebels?”
“Governor, Japan and China are at sword’s point over the Senkaku Islands. If war breaks out, are we obligated by our alliance with Japan to come to her defense?”
The Republican peril in Boca Raton is that headlines the next day will have Romney, consciously or inadvertently, laying down some marker for a new war.
“Peace through strength,” the Eisenhower-Reagan slogan, is the GOP slogan that still resonates with American voters.
Even in 1940, FDR, though plotting war, ran as a peace candidate:
“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
Hopefully, Gov. Romney will say something like this, and mean it.
© 2012 CREATORS.COM
Usually, not always, the peace party wins.
Starting over at Head Start
All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.
They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days
I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.
Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.
No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate
Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Senate campaign already in full bloom
Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.
‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’
What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”
Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association
Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).
Hitting the campaign trail
The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.
The case of the scary black cat
If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.
Basking in the spring sunshine
If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.
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