Hillary: Terror attack would benefit GOP

The lefty reaction to this at Memeorandum is amusing, ranging from the usual fightin’ nutroots lament that she’s not enough of a fighter to “she’s probably right — but don’t say it out loud.” Of course she’s right. For one thing, people tend to rally to their leader when they’re attacked. The single biggest security lapse in American history happened on Bush’s watch six years ago. How’d his approval ratings look two weeks later?


Oddly, the left has no difficulty understanding this phenomenon in the context of Iran. They remind us endlessly, and correctly, that the surest way to take the edge off Iranians’ animus towards the mullahs would be to send a few smart bombs down the chimney, notwithstanding the extent to which the regime’s policies would have been responsible for precipitating the crisis. Bush would benefit from the same siege effect here and his party would get a boost by extension. It’s a fact of group psychology. Democrats have benefited from it, too. Get over it. Besides, terrorism is the GOP’s core talking point; by contrast, when asked point blank a few weeks ago each to name their top three policy priorities, Harold Ford and Screw Them couldn’t come up with one mention of terror between them. Incompetence — the kind of “incompetence” that’s bought us six years without an attack — can be fixed with a change of management, in which case why wouldn’t a voter prefer someone like Giuliani or Romney or McCain who’s vocal about the threat to someone who can’t mention the word “jihad” without looking like they’re passing a stone?

Beyond that, does the left really not understand how its unerring instinct to find fault with its own side makes it suspicious to most people in a crisis? Even before the campaign season started, their leading lights couldn’t choke out two sentences about Al Qaeda without tagging it to Bush somehow — Bush’s war of choice, Bush’s broken DHS, Bush’s failure to seal the deal at Tora Bora, etc. All fair criticisms, all undeniably “on message,” all increasingly creepy when used in volume to qualify denunciations of jihadist Nazis. The annoyance at Hillary here is further evidence of the problem: it’s premised on the idea that the public can and should perceive a new strike less as an attack on America — and as proof that the GOP line on the gravity of the threat is essentially true — than as a Bush policy failure. All terrorist acts are preventable, after all, and the threat’s not so dire that we shouldn’t be able to stop it every time, so let’s stay focused and fight the real enemy in the White House.

Mix that with their love affair with cretinous conspiracy theories meant to minimize terrorism and you’ve got the makings of a big ol’ bowl of trust. And the punchline? Hillary actually did follow their line in emphasizing that the inevitable GOP boost would be totally undeserved. Quote:

“It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,” Clinton told supporters in Concord.

In other words, she’s way out in front on this and laying the groundwork for the left’s response, and they hate her for it anyway because she’s not in denial like they are. Reality based.