April 21, 2004


Bush Draws Terrorism Law Into Campaign (ADAM NAGOURNEY, 4/21/04, NY Times)

The banner behind President Bush proclaimed, "Protecting the Homeland." At his side were five law enforcement officials, including the United States attorney who prosecuted six terrorism suspects here last year. And for nearly an hour on Tuesday, Mr. Bush and the White House-picked group sharing a stage with him hailed the antiterrorism law enacted in the wake of the Sept. 11 acts, declaring that it was vital to protecting the nation.

"Those who criticize the Patriot Act must listen to those folks on the front line of defending America," Mr. Bush said with a glance at the police chief from the nearby town of Amherst, sitting crisply in his uniform two stools away. "The Patriot Act defends our liberty, is what it does, under the Constitution of the United States."

This was the third time in just four days that Mr. Bush had publicly invoked the USA Patriot Act. And it reflected what aides said would be systematic references to it in his speeches and television advertisements through Election Day, as this signature statute of his administration becomes a crucial part of his campaign strategy.

[W]ith this evocatively titled law, Mr. Bush's aides argue, they have found a way to advance two of their chief lines of attack against Mr. Kerry: that Mr. Bush would be tougher than he in facing down terrorism and that the senator, who voted for the law and later came to criticize some of its provisions, is a "flip-flopper," as Republicans regularly describe him.

"It's a two-fer: he's wrong on the issue, and he's flip-flopped," said Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush election adviser.

Among the delusions driving the Democrats these days there may be none greater than that the American people think we're being too tough on the liberties of Islamicists. Of course, they're still waiting for the popular backlash against Republicans for being too tough on Communists in the 50s.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 21, 2004 8:54 AM

Republicans should give Democrats no quarter on this one. And it is not just good politics. The Democratic mantra appears to be that terrorism is a serious threat but one that must be handled through better intelligence and law enforcement. Well, let them re-emasculate both efforts, and reveal where they really stand, i.e.: Terrorism is just about scoring political points (9/11 Commission should have already shown this). Or defending America has its limits, and they draw them well before most Americans would.

Posted by: MG at April 21, 2004 10:28 AM