Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Turns Out the Antiwar Movement Isn't Antiwar

The Antiwar movement is not antiwar but anti-Republican. War is okay as long as Democratic President Barack Obama is waging it--at least for "antiwar" Democrats. Attendance at antiwar rallies has plummeted irrespective of the Afghanistan surge, continued military presence in Iraq, and military intervention (without Congressional approval!) in Libya. And money has dried up. James Taranto:
"Wow, stop the presses! America's 'antiwar movement' has 'dropped off sharply in the past two years,' leading a pair of academics to conclude that it 'may be more anti-Republican than antiwar,' according to a University of Michigan press release:
"'A new study by U-M's Michael Heaney and colleague Fabio Rojas of Indiana University shows that the antiwar movement in the United States demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, first with Congress in 2006 and then with the presidency in 2008.'

"''As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan,' said Heaney, U-M assistant professor of organizational studies and political science. 'The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama's 'betrayal' and reinvigorated its protest activity.''

"''Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the antiwar movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.''
"To reach this stunning conclusion, the academics surveyed 5,400 people at 27 protests in four cities over three years. It might have been easier just to head over to the physics department and sit in on a lecture about Newton's third law of motion."
When Obama won, Democrats stopped attending antiwar rallies and giving support. It turns out Democrats made up the majority in the antiwar movement and only a small group is left with their exodus.

University of Michigan press release here and the study is here.

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