In Ohio, which was indispensable to Bush is 2000 and 2004, free trade is a millstone around the GOP neck. If Bush loses the House or Senate, free-trade globalism goes on the shelf. Not only will Bush fail to win congressional support of a Doha Round trade treaty, he will be denied any renewal of fast-track authority. The new Congress will not rubber-stamp trade treaties, but demand a voice and votes on any new deal the Bushites negotiate on behalf of Corporate America.
But if Republicans are swept from power, the reason will be Iraq. By two to one, Americans have reached the conclusion that the war was a mistake, that taking down Saddam was not worth the price in blood, that the management of the war has been as botched as John Kerry's joke, that it is time to bring the troops home and let Iraqis do the fighting for their own freedom, democracy and independence.
And the more seats Republicans lose Tuesday, the greater will be the pressure on the party and president to find an early exit.
Yet about the war, America remains divided and conflicted. For the roaring Republican reception to Bush's calls for "victory" testifies to another truth. While most American wish we had never gone in and want out, America does not want to lose the war as we lost Vietnam.
Neither party knows a way to accomplish what America wants: to leave Iraq without losing the war. And the reason neither party knows how to do it is because it cannot be done. Like a patient suffering from cancer, we want an end to the "chemo" -- the awful news daily coming out of Iraq -- but we do not want the consequences.
What, then, has cost the Republican Party its patrimony?
The answer is, first, hubris. Dominating Congress for a dozen years, the GOP began to behave with the same haughtiness as those they displaced. They forgot who sent them here, and why.
Second, ideology. Bush Republicans refuse even to reconsider, despite contradictory evidence, what their ideology teaches: that free trade is best, that U.S. power is invincible, that all the world wants to be like us, that our motives are always pure and theirs malevolent.
Tuesday will bring the party back to earth. But it will not solve the crises that beset the country. For while the Democrats may be the political alternative, the Democrats' ideology of big government liberalism is even more bankrupt.
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