Will The Term “World War III” Become A Political Tool?

Is the term “World War III” to become a new political tool to accentuate differences between the political parties?

Newt Gingrich says this:

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. In an interview in Bellevue this morning Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.

“We need to have the militancy that says ‘We’re not going to lose a city,’ ” Gingrich said. He talks about the need to recognize World War III as important for military strategy and political strategy.

Gingrich said he is “very worried” about Republican’s facing fall elections and says the party must have the “nerve” to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush’s record.

You can’t get more blunt than that. It is not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement of George Bush’s term in office, is it?

And then there’s this other quote from the Seattle Times piece:

There is a public relations value, too. Gingrich said that public opinion can change “the minute you use the language” of World War III. The message then, he said, is “‘OK, if we’re in the third world war, which side do you think should win?”

Read that again.

So rather than try to shore up American resolve and unify the country in the face of mounting turmoil abroad if we’re indeed in a new era that is World War III, Gingrich seems to be suggesting that it be used to somehow put Democrats on the defensive…at the very least by implication.

Over at Red State, Robert Hahn notes the Gingrich story and explains:

Gingrich wants Bush to “connect the dots” for Americans by explaining how the bomb attacks in India, the ‘insurgency’ in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, terrorist arrests from Miami to Canada, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, are all of a piece.

Fair enough.

And then, in comments, reader Flagstaff writes:”I don’t think it can happen until we sustain another attack on American soil. The Lefty press would not only refuse to use the term, they would deride its use by others, and it would just be another distraction to take our attention away from the enemy itself.”

To which Hahn replies:”I no longer fear them. Simultaneous adoption of the term by the Administration, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the rest of talk radio, and the right-leaning blogosphere would establish the term in less than a month. The New York press has nowhere near the clout it once did. Ask John Kerry how well the MSM kept the SwiftVets out of the news; Lord knows they tried.”

The problem with all of this is that it’s suggesting that foreign crises would be dealt with in a way to extract maximum political advantage by using events and a blanket definition of them as a bludgeon against Democrats. And if it’s done in a way that it’s suggested above it would be so blatantly political that even some folks who agree with the term World War III would be turned off by it.

This could re-attract wavering members of the GOP’s political base but it would totally turn off Democrats (who probably won’t vote for the GOP anyway) and would probably be the final nail in the coffin for GOP hopes of getting a decent chunk of the independent voters or even some moderate Democrats who might be turned off by a such a transparent political ploy more than they are by World War II 1/2 (the war against Joe Lieberman).

In any event, if it happens the motivation of it has now been telegraphed well in advance by Mr. Gingrich.