The Politicization Of The Foiled Terrorist Airline Plot

From Ed Morrissey on the political charges and innuendo in light of the foiled airplane terrorist plot:

The discovery of the plot and the arrests of the terrorists should have been a cause for celebration — but instead, people decided to spend the day taking partisan swipes at each other.

Almost no one appeared immune from this impulse. George Bush gave a short and to-the-point statement regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism and managed to avoid partisanship, instead focusing on working together to achieve security. Even before that, though, it seemed like politicos could not wait to use the event to score political points. Joe Lieberman used it to attack Ned Lamont. Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy all leaped at the chance to bash the Bush administration for diverting efforts against terrorism into Iraq — and bear in mind that the UK and US stopped the terrorist attack.

And don’t even get me started on the media, which couldn’t even wait for Heathrow to reopen before trying to figure all the political angles.

Do you want to know what the big story of the day really was? We beat the terrorists — again — and saved lives. Perhaps we could have spent the day reflecting on that and the need for continuing vigilance. The politics could have, and should have, waited for another day.

I agree largely — but not totally — with Morrissey.

Yours truly was stuck in a car driving some 285 miles yesterday. That means I was at the mercy of talk radio and news stations.

I heard conservative show hosts say the foiled plot proves why Democrats should not be allowed anywhere near power or be in charge of our country — that only the GOP cares and is competent enough to protect the United States against terrorism. I heard a local newscaster on an Air America station insert an editorial comment in his newscast actually suggesting (he hinted it in an aside) that the foiled terrorism plot was perhaps fabricated because Joe Lieberman was defeated. I heard another liberal talker suggest it wasn’t a coincidence that this happened when GOP polls are down and right after Lieberman was defeated. I heard the comments by Democrats saying this shows that we’re bogged down in Iraq.

But I do not agree with Ed on President George Bush.

I heard President George Bush sound less like a President and Commander In Chief of a country under a perpetual terrorist threat than a politician running for re-election and suggesting that certain Americans (which party could THEY belong to?) somehow forgot about 911 and who did it.

This is NOT just my view. I discovered THIS STORY that notes:

Weighed down by the unpopular war in Iraq, Bush and his aides have tried to shift the national political debate from that conflict to the broader and more popular global war on terrorism ahead of November 7 congressional elections.

The London conspiracy is “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,” the president said on a day trip to Wisconsin.

“It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America,” he said. “We’ve taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren’t completely safe.”

So exactly who has said or suggested that there is “no threat” to the United States?

The bottom line is that Bush was seemingly playing the same game yesterday as the Democrats and the liberal and conservative talk show hosts but doing it in a more subtle way.

It has gotten to the point in the United States now where partisanship trumps everything. Every development, every event is siezed on for maximum partisan skirmish. The talk radio culture of angry rants, accusatory comments, trying to define political foes as evil and a danger to The Republic seemingly permeates every discussion of every event or issue.

Morrissey is right: this was a cause for celebration — not an event that should be grabbed in a frenzy to use as a political bludgeon. The professional talkers and politicians would do wise to heed his advice as stated in the headline of his post (and if they don’t know what the abbreviation means they should ask any teenager).

Could we have possibly been spared 24 hours before both Republicans and Democrats turned news of this foiled attack into a political football?

Just how blatantly political has the terrorism threat become? Look at this quote from tghe AFP story quoted and linked above:

“Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big,” said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won’t “look as appealing” under the circumstances.

We ALL should be grateful this was foiled. And, yes, all Americans in all parties (or not belonging to one) do remember 911 (even if they can’t tell you the year…). NEITHER party has a monopoly on competence or incompetence when it comes to terrorism — since 911 was a failure of administrations of both parties.