Look over there!

When confronted with any… unpleasantness… the President quickly shifts into his favorite position (probably complete with camouflage-patterned underwear, though I have no evidence of this)… that being “the War President TM.” This week, the President was forced to deal with the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the… less than fully effective… federal response, both at the time and with respect to clean-up (our friend Kevin Hayden of American Street has a multi-media compendium on Katrina matters)… and the blogosphere in general has many other discussions of the subject.
Not to worry. There is always an answer: the President, of course, plans to give more speeches on terrorism. (The same Grey Lady article, btw, alludes to Rumsfeld’s sudden need to call Islamists “fascists”, because, after all, misusing nomenclature is an essential part of the winning strategy…) After all, what else would you talk about? The decline in real wages I alluded to recently? The biggest plunge in SAT scores in over 30 years which occurred during the watch of “the Education President TM”? Or how about all that “good news” that keeps coming out of Iraq? Or even how stable his policies have made the Middle East?
No… best to… play on irrational fear! That’s the ticket! The bet is that, coupled with the usual Al Zawahiri tape (probably during the Jewish holidays in late September or early October) and the bin Laden tape (probably a few days before Halloween) and the two or three “orange alerts” (and possibly the capture of another Al Qaeda Number Three TM, either in Pakistan or Afghanistan)… well, those people who, five years after 9-11, are still spooked by this… will still be spooked by it.
But one would think that number of such gullible people is declining (and one would think that, given that this is “only” a Congressional election, maybe the Bushmen’s heart isn’t in it.) Maybe things like deficits and wages and education and health care and the environment and social security and unfair tax policies, and yes, badly managed military actions, might matter more to voters than a shrill alarm about a real, though vastly overstated threat.
But as we’ve come to learn with American politics in the 21st century… that ain’t how you bet.