Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


The Bhutto Assassination, Foreign Policy and the '08 Campaign

Bookmark and Share

The assassination today of ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi provides a newfound emphasis (temporarily, at least) on the importance of foreign policy and the war on terrorism for the next U.S. president. The United States' fragile relationship with a nation at the center of terrorism and radical Islam is now even more in doubt—Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is exceedingly unpopular both among the substantial number of extremists in Pakistan who support the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden (with estimates of that faction approaching 40 to 50 percent of the nation's population), as well as those pushing for Democracy and Bhutto's People's Party.

Aside from the issue of Iraq, foreign policy generally has not registered as an important issue in the mind of American voters at this stage of the presidential campaign. A recent Hotline poll of likely caucus voters in Iowa, for example, found only 4 percent cited international issues and problems as the most important issue facing the country today—behind the war in Iraq (29 percent), immigration (12 percent), the economy (12 percent), health care (8 percent), and terrorism (5 percent).

However, other polls have shown that national security and terrorism resonate as a premiere issue in states like Iowa, but largely only on the GOP side of the ticket. A McClatchy-MSNBC poll conducted in early December found 31 percent of Republican caucus voters citing those issues as the most important, but only 1 percent on the Democratic side (behind issues like health care, the economy, Iraq, and the environment).

Bhutto's assassination is of great significance to U.S. interests (Bhutto, educated in the United States, had many supporters here as well for her pro-Democracy, secular government agenda for Pakistan). Presidential candidates, especially Republicans, will no doubt tie this tragic event to their campaign platform, including the war in Iraq. John McCain spoke at a campaign rally in Des Moines this morning stressing how this assassination magnifies the importance of America's resoluteness in the war on terror while Rudy Giuliani released a statement vowing, "We must redouble our efforts to win the terrorist war against us."

Previous post: ARG Iowa Poll: Clinton Up 14; 3-Way GOP Race
Next post: The Partisan Divide in Iowa

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting