Janet's Conner

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

GOP: GOP STRATEGISTS SHAMELESSLY EXPLOIT THE "T" WORD



It is their "go-to" move. Stressing a seamless connection between 9/11, terrorism, and Iraq has been effectively used by the GOP to scare people into staying put.

Toledo Blade (Ohio)
By: Marilou Johanek

The favorite party fallback that changing America's leadership when the world is a frightfully dangerous place would put America in even more jeopardy than it is today. It's a winning strategy.

***By allowing the GOP to be the majority in Washington, we have made the world a frightfully dangerous place! They are the ones that support everything Bush does, including his illegal war in Iraq. That's what has turned the world against us!

Using terrorism as a wedge won in 2004 so Republicans retooled their old tactics in 2006. It was clear from the onset of the midterm campaigns that terror would be the GOP's main (only ?) key to success. When the controling party can't claim victory in war with failing policies in Iraq, Afghanastan and Lebanon, or boast of any great achievements at home, talking terrorism is a compelling way to change the subject.

When the administration has a history of doing tax breaks to the most profitable energy companies while the personal budgets of Americans are strained by high gasoline costs, Republicans would rather bypass the subject altogether. They also don't want to dwell of the sluggish economy or rising unemployment in critical battleground states like Ohio. And they're hard-pressed to show progress in controlling health-care costs, reforming Social Security, or making college affordable.

When "Leave No Child Behind" leaves millions behind without adequate K-12 resources and public schools across the country to struggle just to get by, the GOP would just as soon focus on terrorism. Who wouldn't?

When deficit hawks on Capitol Hill are twitching over budgets padded with pork and gutted with trillion-dollar tax cuts, Republicans running for re-election switch the dialogue to terrorism. When federal and state prosecutors are pursuing former and current party kingpins in widespread corruption investigations, GOP candidates sidestep the muck with slogans about being strong on defense.

In Ohio, Republican Mike DeWine predictably employed the go-to move about being strong of defense in terrorist times from the start of his Senate re-election campaign. The whole posturing point in the GOP playbook is to imply that the opposition is weak on defense and not reliable against ruthless enemies. The not-so-subliminal message to voters is that national security in the wrong hands could spell doom for everyone.

The fear factor is formidable. After the terrorist attack of Spet. 11, political strategists quickly learned how formidable it was in promoting otherwise unthinkable policy and positioning one party as the foremost defender of national security. If alram in the country over potential terrorist attacks appears to abate, there always seems to be a coincidental development in alleged terrorist plots exposed or an official declaration of dread that necessitates raising color-coded alerts along with public apprehension.

The exploitation of the collective fearlessness that 9/11 created in America has been shamelessly embraced by calculating politicians from the White House down. At a press conference Monday President Bush brazenly dismissed a question about pre-invasion Iraq with references to 9/11.

After saying he disagreed with the "theory that everything was just fine until we arrived," the President couldn't resist using the preferred go-to move of his party. "The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we statrted the freedom agenda in the Middle East," he said.

***Everybody seems to forget that we were attacked on Bush's watch. A Republican president! Nobody really had time to think about it then, but there is time to think about it now! And yes, by the way, everything was fine until they arrived!

The implication, of course, was that the terrorist attacks and Iraq were inextricable. When Bush was asked what Iraq had to do with 9/11 he replied, "Nothing." But incredibly, even as he denied anyone in his administration had ever suggested a link between the two---when that was ALL they did in the months leading up to war---Mr. Bush added, "Iraq was a ...the lesson of Sept, 11 is, take threats before they fully materialize."

Because polls suggest the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism will be potent forces in the congressional races, the President and his party will be melding the two as one political issue to stay on point and campaign as the endorsed protector of national security. Whether the questionable national security priorities of the Republican-controlled government, which have left facilities and port operations in the nation vulnerable five years after 9/11, mitigate the GOP's strategy of being strong on defense is unknown. But what is clear is the gradual realization in America that the country is fighting the wrong war and the more than $300B in resources diverted to Iraq could have been spent on fighting the war on terrorism and hunting down Osama bin Laden.

If voters conclude that starting an unnecessary war in Iraq has, as one critic put it, "created a rallying cry for international terrorists," and made the U.S. not more secure from terrorist attacks like 9/11 but less so, Republicans can't hold a commanding lead over Democrats on national security issues for long.

MIGHT BE TIME FOR THE GOP TO CONSIDER A NEW GO-TO MOVE AS A DIVERSION FROM THE OLD!

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