The NYT Notices The GOP Manipulation
From today’s lead editorial in the New York Times:
It comes like a punch to the gut, at times like these, when our leaders blatantly use the nation’s trauma for political gain. We never get used to this. It never feels like business as usual.
On Wednesday, when the administration already knew that British agents were rounding up suspects in what they believed was a plot to blow up planes en route to the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney had a telephone interview with reporters to discuss the defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut in a Democratic primary. Mr. Cheney went off on a rather rambling disquisition, but its main point was clear: In rejecting Mr. Lieberman, who supported the war in Iraq, the Democrats were encouraging “the Al Qaeda types.” Within the Democratic ranks, the vice president added, “there’s a significant body of opinion that wants to go back — I guess the way I would describe it is sort of the pre-9/11 mind-set, in terms of how we deal with the world we live in.”
The man who beat Mr. Lieberman, Ned Lamont, lives in Greenwich, a suburb full of commuters who work in New York high-rise buildings. They are completely aware of the way international terrorism can come crashing down on an ordinary family, leaving the survivors stunned and bereft. A dozen of their neighbors died at the World Trade Center. They will never be able to go back to a “pre-9/11 mind-set.”
But that did not seem to deter Mr. Lieberman from scoring a cheap sound bite yesterday. Leaving Iraq, as Mr. Lamont advocates, “will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,” he said. “It will strengthen them and they will strike again.”
Here is what we want to do in the wake of the arrests in Britain. We want to understand as much as possible about what terrorists were planning. To talk about airport security and how to make it better. To celebrate what worked in the British investigation and discuss how to push these efforts farther. It would be a blessed moment in modern American history if we could do that without turning this into a political game plan.
I hope the Democrats are taking notes. The point is that Al Qaeda is still around, despite a war and occupation that was sold to us on “fighting them over there so that we don’t have to fight them here.” Democrats need to point out that the GOP has nothing to offer this fall except a failed record on fighting terrorism, spending billions overseas, while taking their eye off the real threats.