The New York Times reports that the Republican Party is about to start running a new TV ad:
It shows Mr. Bush, during the last State of the Union address, warning of continued threats to the nation: "Our war against terror is a contest of will, in which perseverance is power," he says after the screen flashes the words, "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."
Stop right there. Why is it still possible for Bush and the Republicans to speak of "the terrorists," meaning "anyone we decide is an appropriate enemy"? Democrats still haven't hammered home the message that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were not the enemy we were fighting in the Iraq War.
...With somber strings playing in the background, the commercial flashes the words "Strong and Principled Leadership" before cutting to Mr. Bush standing before members of Congress. Intended to call out the Democrats for their opposition to Mr. Bush's military strategy of pre-emptively striking those who pose threats to the nation, the screen flashes "Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others," then urges viewers to tell Congress "to support the president's policy of pre-emptive self defense."
"Those who pose threats to the nation" -- since when is it an established fact that Iraq was a threat to the nation? Isn't it now pretty much established that it wasn't? And wasn't that largely because of sanctions, bombing raids, and inspections conducted for years while a Democrat was president?
But this is the perception: that Democrats oppose the entire war on terrorism. It's a perception that has to be reversed, right now.
I want to hear an ad like this from a Democratic presidential candidate:
"I supported the president when he went to war in Afghanistan against the al-Qaeda terrorists who were responsible for September 11. But then the president got distracted. Instead of continuing to focus on al-Qaeda, he declared war on Iraq -- a country that had nothing to do with September 11, wasn't allied with al-Qaeda, and didn't have the capacity to attack America. I believe this was a critical mistake. Al-Qaeda and its real terrorist allies have now had the opportunity to regroup, and to stage further attacks around the world.
"As president, I'll pursue the war on terror with focus and resolve -- but I won't use it as an excuse to pursue additional wars and try to remake the world."