In addition to the countless moral and financial reasons for ending the war in Afghanistan, smart politicians are recognizing the political reasons for taking a stand against the war. The strong showing in the House last week for the McGovern/Jones amendment shows that some of them are waking up to the intensity of antiwar sentiment in this country.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a pro-peace leader in the House, took to The American Prospect today to lay out the case for President Obama and Democrats to campaign on ending the war:
The planned withdrawal in July will be an important test of the administration’s commitment to winding down the war. The same poll showed that 73 percent of Americans think the U.S. should withdraw a “substantial number” of troops in July. Tellingly, only 39 percent believe this will happen. President Obama can reinforce the beliefs of voters who feel the government ignores their position, or he can give voters a reason to hope, and to vote, next year.
Some pundits think Afghanistan will be obscured by the economy and won’t play a big role in the 2012 election. I doubt it. Americans are connecting the dots between federal spending priorities and the pain they feel at home.
In 2012, key Democratic voters may find themselves lacking money to heat their homes through the winter, struggling to put their kids through college without Pell grants, or running out of unemployment benefits with no new job on the horizon. Meanwhile, more than 100 billion of their tax dollars — as much as $2 billion per al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan, by the administration’s own estimates — are going to a war they feel is not worth the cost. Tell me how that’s not a big political issue.
This is a far cry from the vision that got people pounding the pavement for Democrats in 2008. Party strategist Peter Fenn points out that a Democratic base demoralized by an unaffordable and seemingly never-ending war could pose a major turnout problem in 2012.
Read the rest here.