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January 18, 2008

Blindsided By National Security?

I receive promotional e-mails from other blogs by the score, most of which I just cannot use, although I do try to read it all. One this morning caught my eye, a message promoting a Tom Edsall essay at the Huffington Post. Both the e-mail and the essay wonder whether Republicans will "blindside" the Democrats on terrorism and national security in the general election:

While many Democratic strategists are confident that the deteriorating economy virtually assures the victory of their presidential candidate on November 4, there is a quiet debate over whether the party and prospective nominee are likely to get blindsided by Republicans raising issues of terrorism and national security.

According to Edsall, the Democrats have high confidence in succeeding on economics in this cycle. They expect the economy to worsen in 2008 and make it easier for them to sell higher taxes and more entitlements to nervous voters. They wonder whether the Republicans will somehow sandbag the election by talking about national security and terrorism instead, a battle for which Democrats are apparently unprepared.

Let's pause a moment and let this sink into the consciousness. More than six years after 9/11, the Democrats still have no comprehensive national security or counterterrorism plan. They feel that such a discussion will "blindside" them -- a term from football meaning an attack from an unseen direction -- despite the issues being consistently rated as primary among voters for years. They have no preparation for this discussion, and apparently consider it some kind of dirty trick, if you read more of Edsall's essay.

Perhaps the Democrats ought to familiarize themselves with the Constitution of the nation they want to run. The primary duty of the federal government, and especially the executive, is not issuing handouts or manipulating the economy. It is not running health care or setting wage floors. The primary duty of the federal government is to "provide for the common defence".

Somehow, the Democrats feel that an election that focuses on policy for the government's primary duty works out to an unfair attack. They don't want to engage on that topic, but instead focus on everything else. Nothing could explain better why the Democrats deserve to lose in November.


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