Kicking the bums out

Posted by Lex, on November 6, 2006

It certainly does sound tempting at times. Unfortunately, you don’t really get to vote against anyone – you have to vote for the other guy.

In the most expensive mid-term election in U.S. history, leading national Democrats are conspicuous by their silence on the defining issue of our era: the war on terrorism. Instead of laying out their plans in detail for voters to assess, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have in recent weeks stepped back into the shadows and watched as President Bush has endured blow after blow from the mainstream media and other precincts of America’s almost-uniformly liberal and Democrat elites. When they should be proclaiming at least one great idea, these critics offer only a corrosive “Blame America, Blame Bush” litany of bitterness.

The result is Americans know too little of what Democrats will do should Tuesday’s voting return them to majority status in either or both chambers of Congress. In making Bush the focus of the campaign, however, Reid, Pelosi and company still cannot avoid this stark fact: America is under attack here at home and abroad by Islamic facists who killed thousands of us on Sept. 11 and who intend the deaths of millions more of us in the future.

There are counter-arguments of course: the notion that all of this is little more than political scare-mongering, viz Michael Moore’s assertion that “there is no terrorist threat,” combined with his caveat that even if there were a terrorist threat, any particular individual’s chance of dying from a terrorist strike is vanishingly small, so not to worry; that the current strategy is counter-productive or ineffective, that it has not made us safer; that there is a lot of evil in the world and we cannot save everyone; that this democracy project is none of our affair anyway.

Moore’s principal assertion is given the lie by the near-daily drumbeat of terrorist news in the world press, while his caveat is morally repugnant to any society worthy of the name. The second argument, that the GWOT has not made us safer is an assertion that ought to testable, and the burden of proof placed on those who would make the assertion, as is the inconvenience of explaining away the conspicuous absence of successfully consumated post-9/11 terrorist acts here in the homeland since then. The non-interventionist argument is quickly disposed of as well: To submit that we cannot be everywhere does not logically imply that we cannot be anywhere, so it’s really a question of resources and priorities. That argument, as well as the final assertion that it’s time to clap a stopper over all this loose talk about America’s committment to democracy in the world would make for a fascinating national discussion, well worthy of resolution in the voting booth.

The problem is that no one will expessly make those arguments. Very few candidates who oppose the administration’s conduct in the War on Terror are  making any positive arguments whatsoever.

Tomorrow we go to the polls and vote. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had a choice between Policies “A” and “B”? Instead we are being offerred “A” and “not A.” What a shame.

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