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08.15 RIDE FOR THE OVERRIDE

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08.30 Punishing the Poor: Welfare Reform and Its Democratic Apologists

08.30 Japan’s ‘Hail Mary’ at Fukushima Daiichi: An Underground Ice Wall

08.30 Is your shampoo safe? We simply don't know

08.30 High birth rates and poverty undermine a generation of African children – report

08.30 Nasa: Earth is warming at a pace 'unprecedented in 1,000 years'

08.29 California has urged President Obama and Congress to tax carbon pollution

08.29 The Evidence for ‘Born This Way’

08.29 Should Environmentalists Worry About Hillary Clinton’s Transition Team Chief?

08.29 Floating solar device boils water without mirrors

08.29 Brain wiring needed for reading isn’t learned—it’s in place prior to reading

08.28 The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds

08.27 EV Revolution Set To Cripple More Than Just The Oil Industry

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Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

08.30 If You Want to Celebrate a "Landslide" Clinton Victory, Don't Call Me

08.30 What Landslide? New Polling Shows Clinton and Trump Still Neck and Neck

08.29 Trump's slump in Nascar country deepens Republican fears of defeat

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08.30 In 'Tacit Admission' of Cruelty, DHS Says It Too May End For-Profit Prisons

08.30 Nigerian rapists escape punishment using money, influence – and marriage

08.28 DoJ Says Jail for Not Making Bail is Unconstitutional [9:13 video & transcript]

High Crimes?

08.30 Up to 15,000 bodies may be buried in mass graves in Syria and Iraq – survey

Economics, Crony Capitalism

08.29 Can Cooperative Businesses Save Communities?

08.28 How the Trumps Got Rich

08.28 Mylan CEO sold $5m worth of stock while EpiPen price drew scrutiny [Jay And The Americans.....Only In America]

International

08.30 Why did you become a humanitarian? Aid workers share their motivations

08.30 Girls learn app coding to navigate a way out of their Mumbai slum

08.30 North Korea executes officials with anti-aircraft gun in new purge – report [let's hope for this insane, cruel dictatorship to end]

08.30 Germany mulls plan to force mothers to reveal child’s biological father

08.30 Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

08.30 UN pays tens of millions to Assad regime under Syria aid programme

08.29 TTIP Has 'De Facto Failed,' Says German Economic Minister

08.29 South Korea Can Afford Its Own Defense

08.28 Trump and the Transformation of Politics

08.28 America’s Syria SNAFU: Pentagon’s Militias fight Turkey & CIA’s Militias

08.28 Brexit 'will put 75% of workers at risk of pension shortfall'

08.28 Turkey targets Kurdish forces south of Syria's Jarablus

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  Don't Mention the War
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COMMENTARY:

Don’t Mention the War

by John Hickman
An analysis of Congressional web sites reveals that although Republican Members are less likely to mention the War in Iraq than their Democratic counterparts, neither party delegation appears intent on highlighting the war.
Four out of five Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have taken Basil Fawlty’s admonition to heart: “Don’t mention the war!” Fawlty was that desperately twitchy character played by John Cleese in the seventies BBC television series "Fawlty Towers" and the admonition appeared in “The Germans,” the episode where parapraxis defeats every attempt to attempt to communicate with a group of visiting German VIPs. House Republicans know that the American electorate associates their president and their party with the War in Iraq, and in all but the safest districts that spells electoral danger. Unsurprisingly, their response is to avoid discussing the war. What is surprising is that it isn’t just the Republicans who are being quiet about the War in Iraq. Many House Democrats also appear reluctant to draw attention to the War in Iraq.

Evidence for this conspicuous avoidance is found in a content survey of 437 individual official House of Representatives web-sites between May 22-26, including those of 230 Republican Members, 201 Democratic Members, 4 Democratic Delegates, 1 Republican Delegate and 1 Independent Member. Five House seats are vacant. What the data reveal are similarities between Republican and Democratic House Members in the frequencies with which they mention major issues on the first pages of their web sites.

War in IraqImmigrationPresident BushPolitical Party
Republicans41 (18%)54 (23%)39 (17%)49 (21%)
Democrats47 (23%)32 (15%)31 (15%)107 (52%)
Totals88 (20%)86 (20%)70 (16%)156 (36%)


Although Republican Members are less likely to mention the War in Iraq than their Democratic counterparts, neither party delegation appears intent on highlighting the war. That doesn’t mean they are unwilling to mention foreign affairs. Numerous references to Sudan and the crisis in Darfur can be found on the web pages of the Democrats while Republicans favor Dubai and Mexico. Most of the countries on the planet are mentioned by at least one Republican: although Iraq doesn’t merit a mention from Tennessee Rep. John J. Duncan, Scotland does. To be sure, there are numerous immediate references to Veterans, and several mouse clicks into many of the official web sites old press releases about Iraq can be found, but it’s all too obvious that many Members are ready to move on even while more American soldiers become casualties every day.

Immigration doesn’t feature heavily as an issue either. Less than one-fifth of Republican and only one-sixth of Democratic web sites mention the issue on the first page. This is clearly not an issue that works well for all Republicans. The most obvious difference is that the web sites of Democrats are more likely to include a translation to Spanish button than those of Republicans. Of course, a few House Republicans are staking out strong positions on Immigration. Read Texas Republican John Culberson’s web page and you might wonder whether the United States, or at least Texas, was at war with Mexico.

Roughly the same frequency distribution exists for references to Pres. George W. Bush, with little more than one-fifth of Republican and one-sixth of Democratic web sites mentioning him on the first page. House Republicans are keeping their distance from a Republican president unable to arrest the decline in his poll numbers.

For the first time in two decades many House Democrats are presenting themselves as Democrats while House Republicans are presenting themselves as individual Members of the House of Representatives.
The big difference in the figures is that between references to political party affiliation. More than half the Democratic web sites mention membership in the Democratic Party on the first page while barely one-fifth of the Republican web sites do so. For the first time in two decades many House Democrats are presenting themselves as Democrats while House Republicans are presenting themselves as individual Members of the House of Representatives.

Just as many House Democrats once felt it necessary to disguise their party affiliation, now many House Republicans have begun to mimic those across the aisle. Connecticut Rep. Nancy L. Johnson‘s web site provides the best example. Not only has her web page been sanitized of all references to the Republican Party but it mentions an award received from the Sierra Club and a photo of Rep. Johnson and former Pres. Bill Clinton smiling at one another. When Republicans lose their majority in the House of Representatives in 2006 or 2008 Rep. Johnson and several others like her may be ready to increase the Democratic majority by switching parties.

Not mentioning the war is clearly insufficient for four out of five House Republicans. They have also decided to distance themselves from the Republican Party as the incumbent party of government voters will punish for Iraq, Katrina and other disasters. What all this suggests is a new shape to American politics in 2006 and afterward, with Democratic candidates running for office as a team against the execrable performance of the second Bush administration and its tame Republican Congresses. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t promise is any political accounting for the War in Iraq. Silence on this issue leaves Americans with an unacceptable collective burden of repressed material. Who is responsible for marching the United States into a war that it didn’t need to fight? Who will be held responsible? The only way to answer these questions is to talk about the war itself.
Dr. Hickman is Associate Professor of Government in the Department of Government and International Studies at Berry College in Georgia. He may be reached at jhickman@berry.edu.


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on May 31, 2006.
 

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