Friday, August 11, 2006


The Wars At Home

So, how does the war on terror -- particularly the airline bomb plot -- play out on the campaign trail?

It is, as they say, to soon to tell. However, one thing that Republicans might want to be wary over is that the Democrats seem much more aggressive in pushing back on the GOP playbook from
the two most recent elections:

The events have emboldened Democrats to challenge Bush more forcefully on
national security issues, especially Iraq.

"This latest plot demonstrates the need for the Bush administration and the Congress to change course in Iraq and ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to protect Americans at home and across the world," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
It's interesting to see how the local New York tabloids framed the storylines.

The Post noted Democrats being
on the defensive:

Democratic candidates from Connecticut to Ohio were under fire as weak on terror yesterday amid news of the massive air-attack plot that was busted up in London.
Embattled Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, running as an independent after losing the Democratic primary, used the arrests to attack primary winner Ned Lamont for advocating withdrawal from Iraq.

"I'm worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don't appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us - more evil or as evil as Nazism and probably more dangerous than the Soviet Communists we fought during the long Cold War," he said.
Meanwhile, the Daily News focused on the Democrats' aggressiveness in charging that the White House and GOP were playing politics over terror:

Democrats accused the White House of amping up its terrorism rhetoric after an anti-war Senate candidate won in Connecticut because it knew the London terror busts were imminent.
"When you consider that the White House and Republicans in Congress have politicized the war on terror and the Iraq war since their inceptions, it certainly raises some questions that they need to answer," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Bill Burton.
However, ABC's political tipsheet, The Note, picked up another example of the Democrats intent at playing real hardball -- and taking advantage of a clear GOP fumble in sending out a direct mail piece signed by Rudy Giuliani:

One Democratic operative working on 2006 midterm election strategy offers this Frank-Rich-column-in-the-making timeline to The Note this morning.

A profile in politicizing terror:

Wednesday: Weeks after the White House learns that the London terror plot will be uncovered, Cheney says Lamont victory will encourage "al Qaeda types."

7:42 a.m., Thursday: The White House announces that the threat level has been raised to 'Red.'

10:54 a.m. (CDT): The President announces, on his way to a Wisconsin fundraiser for congressional candidate John Gard, that the arrests in London are "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

12:26 p.m.: The RNC sends out a fundraising email penned by Rudy Giuliani saying "In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. Please make your commitment felt with a financial contribution for $500, $250,$100, $50, $35 or $25 to the Republican National Committee today."

2:53 p.m.: Bush official celebrates the terror plot. The AFP reports,"'Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big,' said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't 'look as appealing' under the circumstances."

4:22 p.m.: The RNC follows with a statement attempting to elevate the war on terror above those who would crassly use it for politics sake: "On a day when American authorities are working with our allies to stop a global terror plot, instead of focusing on political attacks, we should focus on the fact that we are at war and need every tool to win the War on Terror."
This should be a fun politics-watching year.

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