The Christmas Day terrorist attack on Flight 253 was an actual disaster that never occurred thanks to luck (the bomb's detonators were faulty) and to heroism (a Dutch passenger, Jasper Schuringa, literally jumped over rows of passengers to nab the terrorist, subdue him, and save lives).
The averted Christmas Day attack, though, is turning into a political disaster for the Obama administration and the Democratic Left. Political disaster looms because the American people rightly want to know how a terrorist like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, with detonators and explosives in hand, ever managed to get on Flight 253 -- especially after the terrorist's own father had warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about the dangers posed by his son.
The American people also want to know what the Obama administration is doing to prevent future Abdulmutallabs from blowing up planes and American cities. Republican elected officials, consequently, have finally found their voice and thus are asking politically inconvenient questions about how the administration has handled -- or mishandled -- the war on terror. Questions like:
• Has the Obama administration's ban on enhanced interrogations, and its pledge to investigate and prosecute past enhanced interrogations, resulted in lax counterterrorism efforts, which might otherwise have prevented Abdulmutallab from boarding the plane?
• Did the Obama administration opt to cede Abdulmutallab to the courts and his ACLU-loving lawyers vice interrogating him about his terrorist connections and knowledge?
• How much actionable intelligence was lost -- and how many terror plots might have been averted -- because the Obama administration opted to treat the Christmas Day terrorist attack as a law enforcement matter rather than an incident of war?
• Does the Obama administration truly recognize that America is at war with al-Qaeda and the terror masters; or does it still view terrorism as an issue best delegated to the courts and the criminal justice system?
Of course, the Obama administration and the Democratic Left don't like these questions, which threaten to expose their soft underbelly and show that the emperor has no clothes. That's why they've enlisted their allies in the big media to fight back.
The Washington Post, for instance, editorialized yesterday against "a groundless campaign to portray Mr. Obama as soft on terror." "Soft on terror?" exclaimed the Post. "Not this president"!
The New York Times, naturally, agrees. "The Republicans," they whined, "predictably seized on the [Dec. 25 terror] plot for political advantage by absurdly accusing Mr. Obama of being weak on national security."
"What is needed now," intoned the Times, "is what was needed after 9/11: a clearheaded, non-politicized assessment of what went wrong and non-hysterical remedies that work this time."
Not to be outdone, ABC News also chimed in with a supposedly fair "news story" (as opposed to an editorial or commentary) with this headline: "Unlike 9/11, Partisanship Worse After Christmas Attack: In Wake of Attack on Northwest Flight 253, Partisan Sniping on Capitol Hill Amplified."
ABC News laments the loss of "bipartisanship" that supposedly existed for one brief shining moment after 9/11 -- before, the Democratic Left likes to tell us, George W. Bush ruined the domestic political comity that (supposedly) existed by "recklessly and foolishly invading Iraq."
In fact, as we're now learning, whatever domestic political comity existed after 9/11 was never supported by the Democratic Left, which is reflexively opposed to the war on terror. Indeed, with or without Iraq, the Democratic Left opposed the Patriot Act, opposed Guantanamo, opposed enhanced interrogations, opposed profiling, opposed preemptive military action (to extinguish looming threats), and opposed supporting democracy movements (in Iran, the Middle East and elsewhere). And they're still opposed to these commonsense measures!
The Obama administration's record on these issues has been, at best, a mixed bag. In part, the administration has bowed to political reality and to what is administratively feasible. That's why, for instance, Obama has yet to close Guantanamo (though he insists that he still will).
The president, moreover, is continuing to prosecute the war in Afghanistan. Of course, he had no real choice but to do so, given that he promised, during the presidential campaign, to vigorously fight the terrorists there. Indeed, Afghanistan, candidate Obama said repeatedly, was the "central front" in the war on terror; as such, it required, and would get, renewed U.S. military focus and attention.
Surprise, surprise, but the Democratic Left has denounced Obama for what it calls "escalating the war" in Afghanistan -- thus showing that it doesn't now and never did support the war on terror.
The Democratic Left disingenuously, and only temporarily, supported the Afghan war so that it could try and discredit the Iraq war -- and thereby score political points against Bush and the GOP. Afghanistan, the Democratic Left assured us, was the "good war"; Iraq the "bad war."
Left-wing support for Afghanistan thus was a political tool designed to assure the American people that the Democrats could be trusted on matters of national security; it was a political ruse designed to undermine the Bush presidency.
Yet, when the GOP raises any substantive policy questions about the Obama administration's anti-terror polices, the Democratic Left and its big media allies cry foul. They whine like little schoolboys who are losing in a game of dodgeball -- and dodge seems to be the operative word, because the Obama administration and the Democratic Left seem eager to evade responsibility for the policy failures that led to the Flight 253 terrorist attack.
Yesterday, on ABC News' This Week, for instance, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran lectured Rep. Pete Hoekstra about a GOP fundraising letter which castigates the Obama administration's anti-terror policies.
"Are you proud of that?" Moran asked like a disappointed parent or teacher. Are you proud "of fundraising off of a national crisis?"
Hoekstra tried to explain that he and his fellow Republicans have real and substantive policy differences with the Obama administration, and that these differences are the basis for the fundraising letter; however, the liberal Moran would have none of it. Moran, after all, had water to carry for the Democratic Left -- so he cut Hoekstra off.
"But I'm asking about raising money off the attempted murder of 300 people three days after it occurred?" Moran lectured with a look of contempt and disgust.
Maybe Moran doesn't realize it, but politics is how we Americans settle and resolve public-policy matters. Politics is how we think through national and international problems -- and how we arrive at answers or solutions. Politics is part and parcel of the American way of life and integral to our republican system of government. Politics is fundamental to American democracy.
Of course, as a veteran ABC Newsman, Moran certainly does realize all this. Problem is he's blinded by his liberal ideology and/or the liberal culture that pervades the legacy media. If politics isn't about war and peace, life and death, freedom or fear, then what should it be about? Would Moran and the legacy media prefer political arguments about affirmative action, gay marriage and abortion?
Conservative Republicans are damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they talk about ending reverse discrimination, protecting the sanctity of life, and safeguarding traditional marriage, then the legacy media accuse them of divisively and cynically employing "wedge issues." But when conservative Republicans talk about the war on terror and threats to our homeland, then the legacy media accuse them of… the exact same thing!
Heads I win; tails you lose -- welcome to Washington!
In fairness, Moran doesn't object to politics per se; he objects to political "fundraising off of a national crisis." But this is a distinction without a difference. Politics may be Constitutionally free and permissible; but it sure isn't financially free. To the contrary: politics costs a lot of money.
Indeed, it costs a lot of money to wage a political campaign and to advertise on Moran's employer network, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). Politicians, interest groups, and political parties, therefore, have to raise money. They must appeal to donors to give them money.
What better appeal is there than an appeal to help keep America -- and Americans -- safe from fear and safe from terrorism? Is this not a legitimate and high-minded appeal? Isn't this what, first and foremost, our politics should be about: the safety and security of our country and our people?
Of course, the Democratic Left doesn't like such an appeal, because it knows that the public doubts its competence vis-à-vis national security and homeland defense. This explains why the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, has denounced the GOP fundraising letter as "crass" and "political" -- but what explains the hostility of Moran and the legacy media?
Simple, Moran and the legacy media are, for the most part, an integral part of the Democratic Left's media-academic complex. They share the Democratic Left's political views and prejudices. They disparage conservative ideas and resent and fear any potential conservative political ascendancy.
Hoekstra and other conservative Republicans want to argue about big and important issues like war and peace, terrorism and Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq; but Van Hollen and the Democratic Left -- aided by Moran and the legacy (or liberal) media -- don't want that. They want to change the subject. They want to argue, instead, about Republican Party tactics. They want to whine that conservative Republicans are too big and too bad and too mean. Boohoo!
Please. Grow up -- and get a pair! Politics ain't beanbag; it's about serious and weighty matters. It's about the future of our country -- and that future is too important to be left to immature and weak-minded adults who can't handle a vigorous and substantive political and public-policy debate.
We must ensure that, in the future, terrorists like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab never set foot on American soil and never terrorize the innocent. This is what politics -- and political fundraising -- should be all about. It is certainly what the American founding fathers wanted our politics to be all about: the "common defense" of America and preserving the "blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity." Bring it on.
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