Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A shot to the gut

The Richard Clarke testimony to the 9-11 panel could be devestating to Bush's re-election chances. Based on his early ads, Bush is making national security the centerpiece of his campaign. With Clarke's testimony that, essentially, Bush wasn't as concerned about terrorism as Clinton, this constitutes a major blow to that centerpiece.

Of course, no one is covered in glory during these hearings. The Clinton administration had three chances to kill bin Laden and didn't becuase of the possible legal ramifications. Which is interesting because I wouldn't think terrorists, as opposed to political figures, are legally protected from assassination. And apparently our national intelligence system is one giant fakakta mess, where no agency is in close contact with another either due to neglect or rivalry.

But if it is true that Bush didn't take terrorism as seriously as Clinton, especially in the wake of the original WTC bombing, the USS Cole attack and other incidents, then he is in deep trouble. His social programs aren't widely popular and his economic stewardship has been atrocious. Despite that, and thanks also to a weak opponent in Kerry, Bush has the national security issue to ride to victory. If he loses that, then the election gets a whole lot more interesting.

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