John Miller, in National Review

John Miller, in National Review Online, says that the Democrats are making a partisan issue out of the fact that Osama bin Laden is apparently alive and still at large. He sees this as a potentially serious problem for the Bush Administration. Well, maybe, but I doubt it. For this to be a real problem, voters would have to take seriously the idea that Democrats would pursue bin Laden more vigorously or effectively than President Bush. Absent not only a personality transplant but a philosophy transplant, it is hard to imagine the Democrats posturing themselves as advocates of a no-holds-barred attack on terrorists. As we have written before on this site, there is room to get around to Bush’s right on the war, but the Democrats are unable or unwilling to do it. There is a second reason why emphasizing bin Laden’s survival is a risky approach for Democrats. It is an issue over which they have no control. The Democrats are used to blocking Republican initiatives in Congress, and then criticizing Republican presidents for being unable to get anything done. But they have no way to block the pursuit of bin Laden. The Democrats could put a lot of eggs in the “we haven’t caught bin Laden yet” basket, only to find that a few days later, bin Laden turns up dead. If they define killing bin Laden as the criterion for success in the war against terrorism, they will have to live with the consequences if and when he is killed. I personally would not bet on bin Laden to be alive in November 2004.


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