That’s Donald Lambro, who surveys the electoral scene and sees the Republicans with strong issues to take to the voters:
President Bush and his party have made it clear that the final weeks of the elections will be about two issues: national security and the economic recovery.
The war in Iraq, and our efforts to help the Iraqis’ fledgling democracy overcome its terrorist insurgency, is the administration’s biggest political challenge right now. Still, polls show a 51 percent majority believes Iraq is a key battle in the war on terrorism, and most Americans, 50 percent to 42 percent, say the country is safer today than it was before Sept. 11.
Meanwhile, a growing economy is fast emerging as a big political plus for Bush and his party that they intend to promote for all it’s worth.
In any normal election cycle, a booming economy and an edge on national security would be considered a winning hand. But this year, the hysteria that the Democrats and their allies in the news media have generated has swept away all rational consideration of the issues. If you believe the newspapers, that is, and to some degree the polls.
As I’ve said before, I assume the Republicans will lose seats in November, and the Democrats may well wrest away control of one or even both houses. Still, I wonder: the news media have gone stark, raving mad over Mark Foley’s emails, and generic preference polls seem to indicate that the Foley “issue”–whatever it is–has helped the Democrats. But, to the extent that people are offended (as they should be) by homosexual Congressmen hitting on teenage boys, does anyone seriously believe that the solution is to elect Democrats? I doubt it. Democrats are far more associated with both homosexuality and sexual misbehavior than Republicans.
Likewise with the economy. The media have tried to minimize our current prosperity. But can they really succeed in doing that, when people see the prices at which homes in their neighborhood sell, watch prices fall at the gas pump, and enjoy both salaries and stock markets indices that are the highest on record? More and more Democrats are coming out into the open about their intention to raise taxes. How many voters believe that is the way to maintain our current prosperity? Very few, I think.
Newspapers love to headline “More Abuse Alleged at Gitmo!”–more about that later–and Democrats seem to think “detainee abuse” is a winning issue for them. Well, maybe.
But most Americans understand that when we capture a member of al Qaeda who has knowledge of that organization’s plans, potentially including imminent attacks and the whereabouts of other members, it is important to question that detainee quickly and find out what he knows. There is a clear consensus that torture is not an acceptable tactic. But the Democrats and the newspapers consider pretty much everything to be “torture.” Most Americans realize that we can’t get information from a terrorist by saying “pretty please.” What, exactly, are we supposed to do to protect American lives? The Democrats have no answer. Likewise, if we are to house detainees at a facility like Guantanamo Bay, or any other facility, the guards must have a reasonable degree of control over the prisoners. The prisoners frequently attack guards and misbehave in other ways. Once again, does anyone seriously think that all a guard has to do is ask a detainee to please get back in his cell?
This is the most topsy-turvy election season in memory, with trivia largely predominating over the very serious issues that divide the parties. The media’s full-court press may well succeed in pushing the Democrats over the finish line. Still, it would be odd for voters to completely ignore the fundamentals of economics and national security that normally drive elections. Which, I think, is one of the reasons for the hysterical tone of today’s news coverage.