A Terrorist Attack At Home Probably Isn’t Going To Hurt Bush Politically

by John Hawkins | August 6, 2003 5:00 pm

Many people have noted (Dean Esmay[1] for one) that the Democrats are positioning themselves to take advantage of another stateside terrorist attack. However, I am of the opinion that another attack on American soil would probably help Bush politically, not hurt him. Now that may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain my reasoning.

To begin with, a large majority of the American people are sophisticated enough to understand that terrorist attacks against America can happen no matter who the President is. Furthermore, as poll after poll has shown, the American people EXPECT more attacks. So if a car bomb goes off in American city tomorrow, few people other than diehard partisans are going to blame Bush for it.

Now of course, the Democrats & their willing allies in the mainstream media will try to pin any attacks on Bush. But that’s a dumb mistake, similar to the one that Republicans make when they try to compete with Democrats on social spending issues. Republicans aren’t serious about social spending while the Democrats are. Conversely, Republicans are dead serious about protecting our country and the Democrats aren’t. So when Democrats start claiming we need to spend more money on homeland security or need more policemen on the streets, the Bush administration is going to respond with the Patriot Act 2 & other real security measures. That is going to cause the Democratic base to scream “1984” & “Fascism” until the Democrats back off and start to look like wimps who aren’t tough enough to deal with threats against America — again.

Moreover, as the impact of 9/11 has started to fade from the consciousness of Americans, security issues have become less of a concern to most people. A new terrorist attack would once again make national security a top priority issue and the Democrats — no matter who they run — are going to be huge losers on that issue.

That’s why it’s so dumb for the Democrats to attack Bush on security issues in the first place. All the Dems are doing is making their Achilles heel one of the focal points of the campaign. The smart thing to do would be to hug Bush on national security in order to try to take it away as an issue. But the Democratic base is too angry for that, so Democrats are being forced to fight a poorly chosen battle against Bush on security issues.

In any case, if we do all we can to defend America and take the war to our enemies doorsteps, we may be able to keep them from being able to successfully plan & execute attacks here at home — at least for a while. But even if the terrorists do get off an attack, it’s a mistake to assume that Bush is going to be hurt politically by the attack when all is said and done.

PS: Some things should be “beyond politics” and this, along with the whole war on terrorism, should be one of those things. However, sadly, since a new terrorist attack is going to be treated as political issue by the Democrats, it has to dealt with as such.

  1. Dean Esmay: http://www.deanesmay.com/archives/004635.html#004635

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