He's aggressively pursing terrorists -- not just by going after the states that sponsor them, but through a multifaceted and complex plan of counterattack. In its latest issue, U.S. News & World Report reveals "the inside story of how U.S. terrorist hunters are going after al Qaeda." Our agents are hacking into foreign banks, using secret prisons overseas and coordinating with friendly Muslim intelligence sources. They have targeted terrorist leaders, taken prisoners and "amassed files equal to a thousand encyclopedias." Does that sound like mere duct tape to you, Senator Edwards?
Of course not, but when the facts don't suit them, they can level false charges. If those don't work, there's one final safety valve. They can always play the Ashcroft card.
There is nothing like mentioning the name "John Ashcroft" to stir up the Democratic Party base. And it's a twofer -- they get to incite their base while simultaneously attacking Bush's domestic war on terror, since Ashcroft is a pivotal player in it. As if on cue, the candidates have been lining up to take pot shots at Ashcroft.
John Kerry said, "When I'm president, there will be no John Ashcrofts trampling on the Bill of Rights." Senator Carol Moseley-Braun attacked him, too. And John Edwards said, "We see people like John Ashcroft, in the name of protecting America, in the name of fighting a war on terrorism, eroding our rights to privacy, eroding our civil liberties, eroding the very heart and soul of what makes this country great." Edwards campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri admitted that Edwards mentions Ashcroft every speech since he got such a strong reaction when he blasted him a few months ago. "It's always the biggest applause line," said Palmieri.
So keep your eyes open. Democratic hopefuls will continue to hack away at the issue of domestic security, earnestly searching for that elusive spot of vulnerability in President Bush. The attacks will grow shriller as the election approaches. But the Democrats are walking a fine line. Voters, including swing voters, may start to view the attacks themselves as detrimental to our security efforts. Then what will they do? Simple: Blame Ashcroft.