So a great deal depends on whether Obama can depict himself plausibly as a battler against terrorism in the next eight months. And the importance of that question will be increased greatly if these next eight months witness any spectacular increases in terrorism.
Therein lies the deadly danger, to the Democrats, of the long stretch of time between now and Election Day. Is it safe to assume that the terrorists on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier, and in their safe houses in Europe and elsewhere, have no plans for staging some ugly surprises in the United States between now and November? A sophisticated observer might think it is in their best interests to lie low until Clinton or Obama is elected. But are the terrorists that interested in the differences between (say) Obama and McCain? Or do they, in their generosity, despise the Republicans and the Democrats equally?
Just suppose the Democrats nominate Obama, and he embarks on the final campaign slashing McCain as a clone of George W. Bush, presiding over a dismal economy. And then suppose that, in early October, a terrorist attack on Washington slaughters a dozen or so senators, or leaves the Capitol dome tilting at a slight angle. Would that influence the electorate? You can bet your bottom dollar it would.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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