Friday, August 25, 2006

"Peace" wins presidential campaigns

Lawrence S. Wittner, Professor of History at the State University of New York, Albany, writes in this week's History News

In recent years, the conventional wisdom has been that “Peace” is a losing issue in U.S. presidential campaigns. Proponents of this view point to George McGovern’s run for the presidency in 1972, when he called for peace in Vietnam and was trounced at the polls.

But a more thoroughgoing analysis of the peace issue in presidential races supports a more nuanced conclusion. Indeed, it indicates that peace has been a winning issue numerous times.

Even in the case of George McGovern’s 1972 election defeat, it is worth noting that Nixon neutralized the peace issue to some extent by emphasizing his withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Vietnam, his claim that his administration had secured “peace with honor,” and his policies of d├ętente with China and the Soviet Union.

Thus, there seems to be little basis for the assumption that “Peace” is necessarily a losing issue. Indeed, “Peace” has been (and can be) a potent force in U.S. presidential campaigns.
Will Hillary present herself as the "peace" condidate in '08 or will her senatorial boyfriend, John McCain take on that role?

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