The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Living in a Dream World
Whew, that was a close one. We suffered a big attack and were in mortal danger for a while, but we are safe now. Thank God, the war on terror is over. There are no Islamic extremists. Homeland security is not an issue. The only problem in Iraq is how to get out.
Wait, this is news to you? Then you didn't watch the Democratic debate Thursday. Or maybe you did watch, but since those unpleasant topics were completely or mostly ignored, you assumed the war was over and went to bed believing peace is at hand and Santa Claus is busy making toys at the North Pole.
It's not your fault. It's the Democratic presidential candidates who are sleepwalking through history.
As befitting a scrum with too many people and too little time, the debate touched on everything and illuminated nothing. Sen. Hillary Clinton made headlines by defending herself and for finally taking a position against driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, but the gaping hole was the absence of any serious reference to the war on terror. It's long been that way on the campaign trail, and now Dem debates reflect the dangerous drift.
A New York Times language tracker tells the tale. Neither "homeland security" nor "war on terror" were mentioned. Osama Bin Laden was a no-show and Al Qaeda got one mention. "Terrorism" got three, two of them by audience members asking questions, as did "extremists," with two of those in a single answer by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. On the other hand, "health" got 45 mentions and "education" 20.
It is remarkable how far the party and much of the country have strayed from the national unity of 9/11 (three mentions). While Bush's flawed handling of Iraq is a main reason, the unwillingness to separate his failure from the overriding truths of the continuing terror threat will come back to haunt not only Democrats, but the nation.
Consider that what was once called a generational war against an existential threat is now by unanimous consent of the candidates only a misguided Republican war in Iraq that must be ended immediately. What was once a bipartisan concern about the new phenomenon of lethal nonstate actors such as Al Qaeda has been reduced to denunciations of waterboarding and attacks on the Patriot Act. Thursday produced only one reference to Islam — when Sen. Joe Biden complained that Bush acts as though America is at war with the whole religion.
There is more; read the whole thing.