It isn't just Kerry. All along liberals in the Democratic Party and in the partisan press have recoiled at Bush's moral clarity and his supposed simplicity and lack of nuance. Now they're saying he was lax about terror? Which is it: Is Bush a reckless, gun-toting cowboy or a feckless appeaser blind to the threat of terrorism?
But for argument's sake, what if we accept as true what Clarke is now saying? Viewed in the worst possible light to Bush it means that Bush and his advisors didn't take seriously enough the terrorist threat before 9-11. So what? Can anyone objectively deny that he has approached it with gravity since?
The only possible relevance of dredging up Bush's alleged dereliction prior to 9-11 is to imply that had Bush been more engaged, 9-11 could have been prevented. Why else would Clarke be issuing that presumptuously inappropriate apology to the 9-11 victims' families?
But no rational person believes that Bush could have prevented the attacks, so few would make the charge openly. Instead, they deliberately plant the seeds of a suggestion and leave it hanging in the air to create a stench around President Bush, hoping to discredit his performance as commander in chief.
One of the worst aspects of this investigation is its implicit assumption that we could have prevented 9-11, as if intelligence is an exact science and as if all terrorist attacks are wholly preventable. This is not only an unspeakably arrogant attitude, it also shifts our focus from the true culprits in this war and robs us of some of the moral energy necessary to fight them.
Without an infallible crystal ball we can't possibly expect to thwart all terrorist attacks in perpetuity. These people harbor no respect for human life, play by no rules, and, above all, are unpredictable. Yet, amazingly, we have prevented further attacks on American soil since 9-11.
Isn't that the real story here and the one Democrats want to blur through this orchestrated and reprehensible chicanery involving Richard Clarke?
President Bush's remarkable record in the War on Terror speaks for itself -- no matter how brazenly Democrats are trying to suppress it.