Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Security and Politics: Round Two

Last Saturday, I posted on the fact that national security was going to be a major campaign issue for the November elections. I didn't think that was such a bad thing as long as there were some serious and honest discussions of the issue. Well, national security continues to dominate the headlines, but I'm not so certain we are going to get the debate I had hoped for. Today's Washington Post has an article on the President's claims to success in that matter.

President Bush said yesterday he has made the nation safer but warned that it remains threatened by terrorists, accelerating an election-year debate over his leadership in the global fight against Islamic extremists five years after the attacks of Sept. 11. ...

The back and forth illustrated the emotional punch of the terrorism issue as both parties head into fall campaigns with Bush's popular standing lagging and GOP control of Congress at stake. Republicans have argued successfully to voters in the last two election cycles that they do a better job fighting terrorists, but polls have shown a sharp drop in faith in their handling of the issue. The White House believes the reported London plot offers an opportunity to remind voters that the danger from terrorism remains stark, while Democrats see an opportunity to argue that the Iraq war has distracted from the hunt for al-Qaeda.
[Emphasis added]

I think no rational person in this country doubts that terrorism is a threat. Anti-Americanism appears to be rampant, especially in the Middle East. The problem is that much of that Anti-Americanism at the present time has been caused by the disasterous foreign policy of the current regime. The Emperor's claim that he has made the US safer is laughable when seen in that light. Still, Democrats can't just let such bizarre assertions go unanswered.

That the Democrats are beginning to understand that was made clear by some remarks made by Senator Hillary Clinton as noted in an article in yesterday's Washington Post.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible contender for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008, on Monday criticized the Bush administration for failing to do enough to protect the country from terrorists.

..."We've done some things right," the New York senator said at a community event in Schenectady. "Obviously we've beefed up airport security in some ways, but as we've learned over the last week not in every way that matters. We still have not done what we need to do to protect our ports, our borders, our bridges, our transit systems, our rail lines, it's a long list."

"I don't think our long-term strategy for homeland security is yet what it needs to be," she said.

Senator Clinton also commented on the bizarre 40% cut in funding for security measures in New York City, but I would have been happier if she had pounded a little harder on the fact that the dollars we are now wasting in Iraq could be put to better use in real security measures based in the US. I suppose she is trying to avoid the obvious blowback on her support of the war all along.

Sooner or later Democrats are going to have to face down that canard as well. All they have to do to defuse that response is to point to how poorly the war was run right from the start. Enough books have been published in the last six months to give them the cover they need. After all, most Americans now see this regime as a primer in incompetence.

The elections are less than three months away. The Democrats should start speaking out on the issue the Republicans have always claimed. People are not as stupid as all of the politicians seem to think they are.


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