We’ve seen a series of Republican presidential candidates struggle recently over how to address the Iraq war, with most of them oddly reluctant to join with an overwhelming majority of Americans in declaring it a mistake that should not be repeated.
A new Quinnipiac poll makes that struggle more comprehensible:
It’s not a surprise that Republicans remain more supportive than most Americans of a war initiated and led by a Republican administration. But the scale of the divergence between Republicans and their fellow Americans is pretty stunning. To this day, and by more than a two-to-one ratio, Republicans still believe that the war was a good idea.
Or at least they say they believe that. Given the blowback from the war, I have to think that some of those 62 percent are acting out of sheer cussedness in refusing to admit the mistake to a pollster. But Republican pollsters are probably producing similar numbers in their own internal surveys, which helps to explain the awkward straddling act by their candidates. It tells you a lot about what the GOP base will be demanding from a potential nominee.
And that is not good news for Rand Paul.