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August 5, 2004
Gray Lady Undone By Itself, Howard Dean

Today's editorial from the New York Times sets new lows for intellectual bankruptcy and is made largely irrelevant by Howard Dean going off his meds last night. The Times castigates the Bush administration for botching security alerts in a self-contradictory morass of insinuation and innuendo. It starts out by acknowledging the warnings this week were justified by the data at hand, but quickly goes downhill from there:

The administration was obviously right to warn the country that Al Qaeda had apparently studied financial institutions in three cities with the idea of a possible attack. But the delivery of the message was confusing. The color-coded threat chart doesn't serve the purpose for which it was invented, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is hopeless as a public spokesman on this issue. The Bush administration needs to come up with a method of communication that informs the public in a calm, clear way. Perhaps most important, people need to be made totally confident that this critical matter is not being tangled up in the presidential campaign.

This call to keep presidential politics out of the issue of terror alerts lasts all of four paragraphs, in which the Times manages to sneak in a whopper straight from the left's political playbook for this presidential campaign -- but in a mealy-mouthed, dishonest way that attempts to play both sides in the most patronizing way possible:

There is nothing more important for Mr. Bush to do every day until Nov. 2 than to make it clear that he would never hype a terror alert to help his re-election chances. It is a challenge complicated by the fact that he is running on his record against terrorism and is using images of 9/11 and the threat of more attacks to promote his candidacy. The president's credibility on national security issues was gravely wounded by the way he misled Americans, intentionally or not, about the reasons for invading Iraq - including the suggestion that the war was part of the campaign against Al Qaeda.

"Misled Americans, intentionally or not"? How does one accidentally mislead people? The action of misleading people necessarily involves intent -- otherwise, someone is just mistaken. The Times just can't divorce itself from the language of the rabid Bush-haters currently controlling the left and the Democratic Party, the ones who only cheered the vitriolic rhetoric coming from Al Sharpton and John Kerry.

Some of the past terror alerts have seemed aimless and happened when the Bush administration would have benefited from a change in the political conversation.

That certainly hasn't been the case this week, when John Kerry not only didn't get the bounce everyone predicted from his fourth "introduction" to the American electorate, he bounced from embarrassment to embarrassment, starting with the Osama Trial Tour idea to Milli Vanilli Chili and irritating Marines in fast-food joints. Just the fallout from the Nixonian "secret plan to end the war" would have convinced any political operative to keep things pin-drop quiet in order to get the maximum effect out of Kerry's continuing stumbles.

Americans are stone-cold serious when it comes to potential terror attacks - there is no need to worry about making them pay attention.

Apparently, not all of them, as this editorial aptly demonstrates. And if that's not enough for you, Howard Dean has no trouble taking all the subtlety off of the Times' effort. Despite getting slapped down on Tuesday by a nervous John Kerry, Dean reverted back to moonbat form in continuing to claim that the Administration issued the alerts for no other reason than the election:

Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean asserted again Wednesday that "ample evidence" exists that President Bush was playing politics when he approved raising the terror alert level Sunday -- a contention Bush administration and campaign officials deny.

"In the last two days since I made this charge, they've been covering their you-know-what's and trying to come up with additional information," Dean said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

Two senior U.S. government sources told CNN Wednesday that intelligence evidence found in Pakistan shows that suspected al Qaeda operatives there "contacted" an individual or individuals in the United States in the past few months.

His evidence is that the Bush administration has plenty of evidence for the alert? No wonder Dean is the darling of the MoveOn crowd. Even Democrats campaigning for Kerry took Dean to task in stronger terms than ever before:

Since then, a number of prominent Democrats, including presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, distanced themselves from those remarks.

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut went so far as to say "nobody in their right mind" would believe that Bush would "scare people for political reasons."

Dean threatens to expose the Democrats as hopelessly out of touch with the reality of terrorism and at the same time undermine their efforts to paint the Bush administration as unresponsive to the threat. Now when they release information about terror threats, Dean accuses them of being too rash. Dean represents the passion of the Democrats, and the voters have a clear choice: either vote for the party that takes terrorism seriously, or the one who likes to use it as a two-handed paddle for campaign rhetoric.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 5, 2004 7:48 AM

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