Lost amidst the manufactured outrage over John Kerry’s study-hard-or-go-to-Iraq line has been the genuine outrage that Americans ought to feel about the president’s and vice president’s coordinated message two days ago that essentially said a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorism.It’s odd: the Washington Post played up this story in a banner front-page headline, but it hardly got picked up anywhere else in the major mainstream media. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t see the explosion of anger in the progressive blogosphere that I expected, either. Indeed, about the only sharp reaction I saw was from the Democratic Leadership Council, whose New Dem Dispatch tore Bush and Cheney new ones for arguing that their national security failures meant that American voters had lost their right to hold them accountable for their vast series of mistakes.Here’s a sample of the DLC take:
After botching the Iraq War about as thoroughly as possible, and refusing to admit errors, change strategies or hold anyone responsible for their incompetence, the Bush administration is now arguing that the American people don’t have the right to hold them responsible, either, since a Democratic victory would cheer terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. In effect, Bush and Cheney are trying to hold America hostage to their own mistakes.This breathtaking line of “reasoning” is all the more deplorable because it expresses a sense of complete U.S. helplessness in the struggle against jihadist terrorists. We can’t change direction because that would be a victory for our enemies. So they effectively control us. Given the administration’s obsession with denying there are any practical restraints on U.S. freedom of action in Iraq or anywhere else, that’s an especially ironic point of view.
Check it out and pass it on. As Michael Crowley observed over at The Plank, Kerry may have bungled a joke, but Bush bungled a war. And that’s why the gleeful right-wing assault on Kerry may backfire: it reminds voters of the issue on which they have already decided to repudiate the administration and the GOP. In the end, the joke may be on Republicans.