Newspaper logo  
 
 
Bookmark and Share
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

04.16 Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

04.13 Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.20 Has Al Gore been Vindicated? The Former VP speaks out on Climate Menace In Hawaii

04.20 Far More Asteroids Have Hit The Earth Than We Thought, Astronauts Say

04.17 America Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters [graphs]

04.17 The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care

04.17 “Awesome in its evilness”: How to make GOP pay for its Medicaid nightmare

04.16 Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

04.16 Coal Returns to German Utilities Replacing Lost Nuclear

04.16 People of Color Are Disproportionately Hurt by Air Pollution [graphs]

04.15 He Tells the Clintons How to Lose a Little

04.15 Global Solar Power generation Increased by 1/3 In 2013 Alone (with Charts)

04.15 While You Were Watching 'Game of Thrones,' Neil deGrasse Tyson Shared His Solution to Global Warming

04.15 Turns Out, You Can Make Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Cities [video]

04.15 Surge in deaths of environmental activists over past decade, report finds

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

04.19 Obama's First-Amendment Defense of Political Liars

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.20 The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state

04.20 Scientists Successfully Teach Monkey Theory of Evolution

04.18 G.O.P. Discovers Useful Voter Outreach Tool: Gun Sweepstakes

04.18 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States

04.17 How Rand Paul Bailed on His Bold Plan to Reform Big-Money Politics in Washington

04.17 Resegregation in the American South

04.17 U.S. States Revive Debtors’ Prisons

04.16 Study: American policy exclusively reflects desires of the rich; citizens' groups largely irrelevant

04.16 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan’s Taliban

04.16 Rick Perry Dismantled Texas' Public Integrity Unit. Now He's Facing a Grand Jury.

04.16 7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.20 Banks Cling to Bundles Holding Risk

04.20 Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal

04.20 Abigail Field: Our Corrupt Tax Code

04.19 Bill Moyers on America’s Mad Dash Toward Oligarchy [2:56 video]

04.19 What the 1% Don’t Want You to Know [24:30 video w/ transcript]

04.19 Casinos and Offshore Gaming Sites Furiously Battle Over Billions in Gambling Revenue

04.18 Salvation Gets Cheap

04.18 Inequality and the Inevitable Collapse

04.18 Privatization is a Ramp for Corruption and Insouciance is a Ramp for War

04.17 Putin Bank Trail Runs From Communist Cash to Billionaires

04.17 What Happened to Canada?

04.15 The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing

04.15 Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: ‘I Vote for Democracy!’

04.15 Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality

International

04.20 Celebrating Easter? Which Contradicting Biblical Account of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are You Going to Pick?

04.19 5 Things to Know About How Corporations Block Access to Everything from Miracle Drugs to Science Research

04.18 Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

04.17 US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides

04.16 On Eve of Pope’s visit to Israel, Radical Israeli Settlers attack Christian Village

04.16 'We Will Shoot Back': All Eyes on Russia as Ukraine Begins Offensive in East

04.15 Russia faces being 'frozen out' by west over Ukraine

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Don't Mention the War
Newspaper logo

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.
 


Public Service Ads: