Tuesday, September 28, 2004

War Time Elections

Thank you Peter Robinson.
He has a post at The Corner this morning which is just what I was thinking about yesterday, only more well-informed, discussing American Elections in 1812, 1864, 1968, 1972 :)

In 1864, General George McClellan attempted to deny President Abraham Lincoln a second term, accepting the nomination of a Democratic Party that denounced the Civil War as “four years of failure.” Although McClellan argued for a continuation of the war, he attempted to have the issue both ways, making it clear that he remained open to some form of negotiated peace. Lincoln insisted instead on outright victory.

Lincoln won.

I would make the additional point that this election happened during our Civil War. If in fact things become a Civil War in Iraq, on what grounds can we say that their election during wartime is not legitimate considering we did the very same thing?
Also, notice the phrase "outright victory."

In 1968, Hubert Humphrey proved increasingly critical of the war in Vietnam as election day approached. By contrast, Richard Nixon remained committed to the defense of South Vietnam.

Nixon won.

In 1972, George McGovern proved unambiguously dovish, calling for [a] withdrawal from Vietnam, while Richard Nixon remained, once again, committed to American war aims.

Nixon won.

My point? That in attempting to portray Iraq as a second Vietnam, John Kerry is not only making obvious mistakes on the substance—the military situation in Iraq is entirely different from that of Vietnam, and even now we have suffered only as many casualties during the entire conflict in Iraq as we suffered in Vietnam every two months. Kerry is also demonstrating an astonishing ignorance of the character of the nation. When the country is at war, Americans reject vacillation, voting for strength.

Exactly. Senator Kerry and his advisors would be wise to consider this history before Thursday night.

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report tonight that in the 1864 Presidential election, 11 states did not even vote (plus remember there were fewer states then) and in the 1868 election, 3 states didn't vote. I don't know about you, but I would still claim that Abraham Lincoln was legitimately elected 1864.