Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

07.22 The New Yorker Is Temporarily Making All Of Its Archives Free; Here Are 8 Stories You Should Read

07.21 Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.25 Antarctica’s Point of No Return

07.24 Top Doctor Working To Contain Current Ebola Outbreak Is Now Infected With Ebola

07.24 Under Water: The EPA’s Struggle to Combat Pollution

07.24 Why Do Other Rich Nations Spend So Much Less on Healthcare?

07.23 Germany, UK and Poland top ‘dirty 30’ list of EU coal-fired power stations

07.23 The strange relationship between global warming denial and... speaking English [chart]

07.23 Great Barrier Reef contaminated by toxic coal dust, inquiry told

07.23 Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death

07.22 California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

07.22 Paterson's 'green blob' tirade reveals the right's problem with climate change

07.22 Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

07.22 HIV breakthrough reveals virus hidden in immune system cells

News Media

07.21 Journalistic Malpractice: The Media Enables the Right-Wing Politicization of Science

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

07.24 The Leader of the Unfree World [Scary charts]

07.23 "Conservative" judges are ganging up to steal your "affordable" healthcare

US Politics, Policy & Culture

07.25 Black Homeowners Are Worse Off Today Than They Were 40 Years Ago

07.24 Calm Down ... You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

07.22 The Senate flunks basic biology: Inside a disgraceful hearing

07.22 If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror

07.22 Detroit residents fight back over water shutoff: 'It's a life-or-death situation'

High Crimes?

07.17 Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises [Over 1,000 comments]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.25 Obama Seeks to Close Loophole That Firms Use to Shield Profits Abroad [1:13 video]

07.25 Administration Plans Orwellian Statistics Fudge to Make Offshored Production Look Like US Made

07.23 Detroit, Other Cash-Strapped US Cities, States Slashing Pension Benefits While Subsidizing Professional Sports Stadiums

07.23 Top lawmaker wants corporate tax loophole 'plugged now'

07.22 Here's Why Wall Street Reform Is Still in Limbo

07.21 OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

International
America Is the Only Country with a Favorable View of Israel [graphs]

07.25 The Gaza war has done terrible things to Israeli society

07.25 Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: 'All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion'

07.25 West Bank erupts as UN deplores Gaza school attack

07.24 8 Celebrities Outraged by Israel's Assault on Gaza

07.24 Keeping Spies Out: Germany Ratchets Up Counterintelligence Measures

07.24 How America Finances the Destruction in Gaza—and the Cleanup

07.23 Wall Street Journal Argument that Gazan Civilians Aren’t Innocent Is the Exact Same One Bin Laden Used To Justify 9/11

07.23 Ethiopia Becomes China’s China in Search for Cheap Labor

07.23 US and Germany hold restorative talks after series of spy scandals

07.22 The Waste of War

07.22 Israel hits hundreds of targets in Gaza as soldier is confirmed missing

07.22 Bloody Weekend in Gaza [42 photos]

07.22 New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution

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: