When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, when your elevation of an incompetent tool who de-emphasizes counterterrorism and surrounds himself with people whose main qualification is that their sense of personal loyalty is absolute, even if their intellectual gifts and track record of past accomplishments leave something to be desired, leads to an unprecedented security failure and the death of thousands of Americans on US soil; when a botched decision to go to war, sold dishonestly and then revealed to have been so sold, is followed by an equally botched occupation that leaves (again) thousands of Americans (along with the odd million or so innocent foreigners) dead, while draining the national coffers to the tune of half a trillion (with a “T”) dollars and counting; when pretty much everything your guy has accomplished in the last eight years demonstrates that your particular approach to governance has been (at least in practice) an unmitigated disaster for the nation generally and for its citizens’ physical security in particular; how then do you respond when it looks like things are turning against you politically?
Why, by putting out a commercial that is a direct ripoff of the trailer for the upcoming season of 24, attempting to stoke even higher the public fear that has been engendered precisely because of your guy’s failures, and use it as an argument that really, these times are so scary that it is only the Republicans who can possibly save us:
To which I can only say, bring it on. If at this point in time the United States can, in fact, be swayed by that particular message delivered in that particular manner by those particular people, then we deserve four more years of Bush-style leadership.
But it does raise an interesting question, which Matthew Yglesias muses about in The Party of Terror:
In essence, the Republicans are placing a heavy political bet on the idea of a terrorist attack happening some time while their “danger” clock is running. If Americans die, they’ll be in a position to clean up. Conversely, if we still have some semblance of legal protections against government surveillance months from now and that clock’s still ticking even though al-Qaeda hasn’t slaughtered any innocents here in the U.S., they’re going to look mighty silly.
A conspiracy theorist would move easily from this fact (which I think is pretty much indisputable) to the (much harder to demonstrate) belief that the Republican Party would actually work to bring about such an attack here in the US. Maybe I’m naive in my faith in humanity, but I believe that even our current crop of Republican leaders are not such awful people that they’d stoop to that. Unfortunately, it’s not necessary to assume that degree of evil on their part; simple incompetence, dishonesty, and a fucked-up decision-making process are demonstrably sufficient to bring it about. So yeah, I’m afraid. Just not in the particular way that that commercial wants me to be.