Michael Barone

But when it comes to the question of protecting Americans from Islamist terrorists, the Democrats have little to say, or nothing. Democratic candidates have mentioned Islamist terrorism only briefly or, more often, not at all in their several debates. In contrast, Republican candidates in their debates have more to say on the subject. On this issue, it is the Republican candidates who are in line not only with their primary electorate but also with most voters in the general election.

This helps to explain one anomaly in current polling, that while voters generically prefer a Democratic candidate, when they are presented with a choice between the two candidates now leading in the polls, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, they are split just about evenly. The reason is that Democrats are giving voters the impression that they believe everything will be just fine in the world once Bush is back in Crawford and the troops are home from Iraq.

The Public Opinion Strategies poll indicates that that is a notion a solid majority of American voters reject. They know that the Sept. 11 attacks were planned long before Bush became president and that our enemies will try to launch new attacks after he is gone.

Raging against George W. Bush plays well among Democratic primary voters while Bush still has more than a year left in his presidency. The Democratic base has been in a fury against Bush since the Florida controversy in late 2000, and its appetite for denunciation of him and all his works seems never to be satisfied. But raging against Bush, and leaving the impression that you feel the threats we face will disappear when he does, could leave the Democratic presidential nominee vulnerable next fall when Bush's presidency will be about to recede into history.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM