Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

10.22 Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.24 EU reaches deal on CO2 emissions cut

10.24 University of Pittsburgh study correlates autism with air pollution

10.24 University of Pittsburgh study correlates autism with air pollution

10.23 Five graphs that explain the EU 2030 energy and climate deal

10.22 Doctors Without Borders Hits Ebola Breaking Point

10.22 Ebola virus: how it spreads and what it does to you – video

10.22 WHO aims for Ebola serum in weeks and vaccine tests in Africa by January

10.22 What If America Had Canada's Healthcare System? [7:25 video, charts]

10.21 Boston University study finds possible link between traumatic brain injuries and domestic violence

10.21 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

10.23 US jury convicts Blackwater guards in 2007 killing of Iraqi civilians

US Politics, Policy & Culture

10.24 How Racial Equity Can Make Cities Richer [graphs]

10.24 Prenatal Air Pollution Linked to Impaired Lung Function

10.24 How Independents Could Seize Control of the Senate

10.23 The Era of Political Disruption

10.23 Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington

10.23 Amid Shootings, Chicago Police Department Upholds Culture of Impunity

10.23 Chris Christie Pay-To-Play Probe Of Charlie Baker Takes Center Stage In Massachusetts Gubernatorial Debate

10.22 Yes, it's true: Police only shot four people (and nobody died) in all of England the past two years

10.22 The Best Investigative Reporting on Campaign Finance Since 2012

10.21 Warren Makes the Case

10.21 Texas Just Won the Right to Disenfranchise 600,000 People. It's Not the First Time. [A disgraceful history]

10.21 Yes, Mass Shootings Are Occurring More Often [graphs]

10.21 The Bottom 90 Percent: No Better Off Today Than in 1986

10.21 Can Homeless People Move Into Baltimore's Abandoned Houses?

10.21 Chart: Values of Homes Owned by African Americans Take Outsized Hit Compared to Those Owned by Whites

10.21 You might be a politician if ... you tried to defund Ebola research, only to campaign on Ebola fear

High Crimes?

10.22 White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report

10.22 Fred Branfman, exposer of America’s secret war in Laos, died on September 24th, aged 72

10.22 US ordered to explain withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan torture photos

Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.24 Compensation shrinks for all income groups – except the very highest

10.24 The Mortgage Industry Is Strangling the Housing Market and Blaming the Government

10.24 Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies

10.24 MyRA Accounts Fall Short for Savers

10.20 The Feds Just Approved a New GMO Corn. Here's Why I'm Not Rejoicing

10.20 EPA: Those Bee-Killing Pesticides? They're Actually Pretty Useless

10.17 Chris Christie: New Jersey Bill Challenges Governor's Subsidies To GOP Donors

10.17 Matt Stoller: Why We Need to Break Up Amazon – and How to Do It

International

10.24 Saudi Arabia's Women Problem

10.24 Boko Haram Abducts More Women, Despite Claims of Nigeria Cease-Fire

10.23 Thousands in Iran Protest Acid Attacks on Women

10.23 Death in the Sahara: An Ill-Fated Attempt to Reach Fortress Europe

10.23 Battle for Kobani: As the World Watches, Turkey Looks Away

10.23 Eve of Election: A Fractured Ukraine, United in Uncertainty

10.23 George Soros: Russia poses existential threat to Europe

10.23 Oil slump leaves Russia even weaker than decaying Soviet Union

10.22 World War III: It's Here And Energy Is Largely Behind It

10.22 Sweden bathes in echoes of cold war drama as submarine hunt continues

10.22 Daily Life in the Shadow of ISIS

10.21 Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

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: