How the War Plays in Ohio

Ohio is in the midst of a hotly contested gubernatorial election, and it's likely to be as crucial a battleground state in the presidential fight in 2008 as it was in '04. Outgoing Republican Gov. Bob Taft (grandson of that Robert A. Taft — talk about the regression to mediocrity) has been a millstone around the Buckeye GOP's neck for a while now. But the governor's personal unpopularity is not the only thing dragging down Ohio Republicans, as David Broder reports:

As I confirmed again on a visit to Ohio last week, the casualties of that war — the group deaths of Marines and Army reservists plucked from their Ohio hometowns for repeated tours — have triggered a popular backlash more worrisome to Republicans than the scandals that have destroyed the standing of Gov. Bob Taft and jeopardized the whole state GOP ticket.

If you believe National Review, though, the only problem is that the Republicans aren't stumping harder for the war. In the cover story of the May 22 issue, Rich Lowry and Kate O'Beirne advise the GOP to play kamikaze:

Republicans facing voters this year recognize that their party is on the "wrong" side of an unpopular war and grouse about the president's apparent inability to assuage doubts about the chances for success in Iraq. Their prospects at the polls would improve dramatically if their constituents better understood how crucial a stable, democratic Iraq is to our national security and if George W. Bush's poll ratings were ten points higher. Rather than being struck dumb on the subject in the face of discouraging public opinion, GOP members should be using their seemingly constant recesses to make the case for the war in their districts.

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