Why is Ron Paul the only Republican presidental candidate to oppose the war in Iraq? The 

other candidates aren’t exactly toeing the party line on other issues. So why can’t any 

Republican say the US should pull out of Iraq – without also saying it should pull out of 


—Gareth Wilson


That’s pretty easy: because they’re going after Republican voters.  Republicans still approve of George Bush by large majorities, and about 70% support keeping troops in Iraq.  They’re just not going to get the nomination by either opposing the war, or directly criticizing Bush.


Now, it’s true that the electorate as a whole is sick of the war.  Most likely, then, the nominee will track back to the center after the convention.  It’s hard to imagine that cheerleading the Iraq war will be a winning strategy this fall.  If Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, I’d guess Iraq won’t be a huge issue (since she is not itching to leave quickly).  If Obama does, it will be, since that allows the Republicans to reframe the debate— they’ll sidestep the disastrous conduct of the war and spend the fall talking about Obama “cutting and running”.