Iran Talk is a most hot new topic for the foreign policy crowd and the few thousand wine-sipping diplomats who circulate poorly heated chateaus and speak of demarches and defuses.
But is Iran Talk hot enough to gush into the Congressional campaign in November 2006? Can Team Bush transfer the mumbling evasiveness of Straw, Steiner, ElBaredei and Lavrov into slogans to take into the field to rally the GOP base for several wobbly Senate seats?
For example, how does Iran Talk play in Pennsylvania to help the President appear on platforms with incumbent, poll-trailing Rick Santorum? Does telling the evangelical-Catholic-veteran-Fox red base that a vote for Rick is a vote to strengthen my hand in the coming showdown in the Perisan Gulf -- does this turn out the numbers to overwhelm the routinely sluggish blue team of minorities and union legacy hosueholds? Does give-me-strength work in Rhode Island for sad sack Chafee; in New Jersey for young Kean against the machine pol Menendez; in Florida for the femme fatale Harris against the dullard Bill Nelson?
Spoke to my professional roundtable last eve, Curry of MSNBC, Fund from Opinionjournal.com, Todd of Hotline, and Whalen of Hoover, and they are collectively perusaded that Iran Talk will figure in the election tactics this year.
How does it work for the Democrats? Does demanding withdrawal from Iraq seem logical in the face of an Iran nuke threat? Or can the Dems twist themselves to say that Team Bush has wasted blood and treasure on the wrong threat these last four years, that Iran is what Team Bush should have attacked after Kabul? But the Dems are a default anti-war, soft diplomacy crowd, so how does any war-drumming help a Dem candidate?
Iran Talk looks to be another strong card for the GOP, and Team Bush will play it again and again from Labor Day to Election Day.
And the hallucinatory Ahmadinejad looks to be another of those political phenomenons that, if he didn't exist, the Rovians would have to invent him.
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