Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Commentary on the 4th District

Yesterday the CT Post ran a story outlining what Chris Shays faces as he tries to win reelection. Some of the issues are unique to Shays and his campaign, such as his morphing from a conscientious objector during Vietnam to the full blown hawk currently serving in Congress. But even with Shays's reputation as an independent voice his campaign problems mirror those of the GOP as a whole.

Currently the only thing Republicans have going for them is fear. They can't point to domestic success, and five years after the 9/11 attacks they can't emphasize foreign policy as they did in 02 and 04. No matter how the Bush administration tries to spin Iraq, the news there isn't good. Meanwhile we still haven't caught Bin Laden and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission haven't become law.

As Time magazine points out the White House is relentlessly pushing the fear angle.

The message: Republicans are strong, and Democrats are weak. The White House strategy isn't subtle. With Republicans worried about losing the House and conceivably even the Senate in November, the President is taking a big gamble that an unflinching focus on national security will be his party's political salvation.


What does this mean for Chris Shays? How does he hold onto his seat when voters in his district are so unhappy with the war? I don't think Shays himself knows the answer. His new views on Iraq received plenty of press, but didn't help his campaign. If anything it only created more confusion.

How do Diane Farrell and her fellow democratic challengers take advantage of the current political climate? If Democrats have a weakness it's the lack of a united front on Iraq, but perhaps a solution isn't even necessary. It's possible that the prospect of gridlock will be enough to motivate voters to cast their ballots for change this November.

Sources
Silvers, Susan. "Shays works both sides of politics". Connecticut Post. 9-19-06

Allen, Mike. "Why Bush's Security Pitch May Not Work This Time

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

From what I've seen, the Farrell Campaign has been doing a pretty good job at hammering home the message that Shays is in lock step with Bush on the war in Iraq. What's going to shock the average voter, I believe, is that he's been there 14 times, and still supports the failed policy of this administration. It's also probably confusing to voters to hear him waffling on this timetable vs. no timetable position he's trying to take.

He may be a tough opponent, but the Farrell campaign seems stronger, more organized, and better funded than 2 years. This, on top of his position on the war, will surely mean a loss for Shays.

bluecoat said...

Kerry took most of the 4th CD last time around while Shays managde to eake out a win against Farrell; I have no idea how to call this race this time around; as for Shays' CO status, I have alwasy had trouble reconciling that with his position that we are "doing the Lord's work in Iraq"t but he did do the Peace Corps thing once he got his co and he didn't have to do that to avoid military service.

Anonymous said...

cgg comments about shays: "his morphing from a conscientious objector during Vietnam to the full blown hawk"

shays doesn't bring this issue up, nor do the overwhelming majority of his constituents. this issue is constantly mentioned by his detractors (ie democrats who support farrell and want to discredit shays).

it is time we moved beyond people's "service" to our country in vietnam. isn't that what made our last presidential election a joke - the swift boat ads attacking kerry; the ads attacking bush's service in nat'l guard.

in 1992 & again in 1996 the republican candidate for president was a bona fide world war II war hero, while the democrat was in all probability a draft dodger.

so what? if democrats want to attack shays for his conversion, as you call it, please acknowledge your own hypocritical conversion for not caring about clinton's status during vietnam and believing that he could be our commander in chief and order the launching of cruise missiles and other military action.

how about cgg? time to stop this secret attack on shays and talk about issues.

Anonymous said...

So Shays was a CO. Who cares? What was Farrell doing during Vietnam?

bluecoat said...

Farrell has never publicly broached the issue of Shays being a CO and I am not a farrell supporter. However, by defintion a conscientiuos objector is A conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles straight from the Selective Service Admin website. Now, Shays says the US is "doing the Lord's work in Iraq" and that includes deploying armed forces who bear arms. Yes, it's an issue. As for Farrell and VietNam, she was too young to be drafted - if she were a man that is.

bluecoat said...

And BTW, Clinton is irrelevant to the debate - thank you very much.

bluecoat said...

don't know why this didn't show up but to clarify what a CO is: But my objections are based on the belief that this is not a just war as defined by my core religious beliefs. Can I still be a conscientious objector?
No. In the case of Gillette v United States 401 U. S. 437 (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the beliefs which shape the desire for CO status must include opposition to all wars and may not be selective.
fromF.A.Q. - Conscientious Objector Status
Version 1.2, April 16, 2003
Written by Gregory Gadow


and this about what's going on today for those who joined up and then changed their mind - it's happening.