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Posted by on Jul 16, 2006 in At TMV | 9 comments

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.

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • SnarkySahrk

    We need to have the militancy that says ‘We’re not going to lose a city,’ ” Gingrich said.

    New Orleans.

  • Rudi

    Is Newt talking about war or his marital status or history. The Repugs the Party of Values – LOL.

  • These Republicans like Newt want nothing more than WWIII… because to them, this means the “rapture” is finally here.

    Why are we even paying attention to commentary from these guys?
    It’s because of these nuts that the Middle East is in chaos today. It’s due to a combination of their diplomatic neglect in the Middle East, and their behind the scenes encouragement of Israel to launch military action. (or at least their implicit wink and nod).

    This is in a way, a proxy war on behalf of the U.S.

    The U.S. wants to poke its nose at Syria, Iran and their militant political organizations in the region. Israel is doing the dirty work for the U.S. under the guise of “Israel just protecting itself”.

    How is this kind of military action protecting Israel from terrorism? It will only have the opposite result. And will this get their soldiers back? I doubt that.

    This kind of heavy handed military action has never worked to stop terrorism. It seems as though the U.S. and Israel should understand this by now better than most other nations. So why do they repeat the same mistakes? Why use the same failed policies over and over again?

    The Angry Independent

  • Kim Ritter

    Newt was on Meet the Press with Joe Biden, spouting this hawkish point of view. If there’s anything we don’t need its another neocon who thinks scaring Americans about another mushroom cloud and WWIII is the way for Republicans to hold onto dominance in ’06 and ’08.

    His inane plan to take out N.Korea’s missiles on the launch pad puts 35,000 U.S. troops on the border in jeopardy as well a million South Korean civilians. The lessons we should learn from Bush’s failed “cowboy diplomacy” is to carefully weigh consequences before taking such a rash action. Newt would be even worse in office than Bush/Cheney.

  • JP


    This is truly disturbing, and partisanship at its worst. May as well bring DeLay back and get Rove in on it, they seem to think alike.


  • Terry Ott

    “So why do they repeat the same mistakes? Why use the same failed policies over and over again?”

    Please identify the policies that WOULD be more appropriate, and if possible the evidence suggesting they’re not mistakes and would work out better. Thanks in advance.

    The “rapture”? Huh?

    You may not accept it, and I’m not sure I do either (I change my mind on this from time to time), but I think a legit argument can be made that the US will have to take some firmer and firmer stands against Islamic terrorism and the “revolutionary/evolutionary) spread of their values. Obviously it is not “just” a military thing, but neither can it be done with military intervention in my opinion.

    WWIII? Maybe. I guess we are into semantics now. Clearly, the confrontation involves the interests of MANY countries and regions.

  • Pyst

    A story about Newt pushing WW3 as a viable way for the GOP to hold power, but what gets dropped in at the end….”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).”

    A stab at the other side that’s what.

    I’m a moderate/centerist democrat as it were, (I vote for them when they have a decent canidate, but vote independant Badnarik ’04 as well, and even republican if the canidate shows me something Reilly-R gov AL ’06) and I don’t mind the fake Droopy Joe getting kicked like a can down the road. I don’t see it as a political ploy, I just think hes bought and paid for, devoid of soul, and plastic.

    It was a good article untill the odd need to take a shot at the otherside to protect the political flanks.

  • Joe

    FYI, no there is no grand plot. No Republican operative was holding a gun to my head to insert that comment about Lieberman. I don’t get a paycheck to make a wisecrack about Cheney, or Lieberman, or Democrats whogo after Lieberman. And I should have known that somsone who hang onto it like it was a major analytical line rather than a chance to make a wisecrack. If you have read this site you’ll see that I do that quite a bit. I also wrote quite extensively on Lieberman, serious stuff, and that comment wasn’t a major analytical declaration. I am truly considering reinstitutiong TMV’s Get A Life Club for people on the right and left who just truly need to lighten up. The Republic and the 2006 election won’t be decided on the basis of my little wisecrack — and I won’t stop making them if I see a chance to do so again. In fact, there is a serious point there: moderate Democrats who might be backing Lieberman
    MIGHT be turned off if what Gingrich suggests happens. The danger for some Democrats is that moderate Democrats who back Lieberman might site out the election or vote for some GOP candidates if they feel they’re being purged from the party; but if Gingrich’s game plan comes to pass some of these folks might be so offended by the political transparency of what he suggests that they’ll vote for the Democrats as the lesser of two evils. But all I did was MAKE A WISECRACK and there are no apoloigies, no retraction and I will do it again on other posts. Blogs take themselves much too seriouslyl as if ever post determines the fate of the nation.

  • Pyst

    Gotcha! LMAO

    You really think I’m sitting here with veins popping out of my head over that obvious snarky bit you finished your post with?

    If you really think moderate Democrats are going to pass up the chance to change things after the last 6 years you gotta be kidding to think they’d vote republican.

    Sure the answer is to give the GOP more power LMAO.

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