So the big tin-foil hat thing spreading around the Left Bank of Blogostan this past week was the notion that the government might see fit to cancel the November elections
should there be a terrorist attack or some other national emergency. See, we here on the Left consider November 2 this year to be holy, almost--the chance to
elect John Kerry is our Grail. And the U.S. has never
cancelled elections, not even during the Civil War, so it really, really upsets us that an administration with a tenuous grasp on re-election would consider postponing their Waterloo.
Now, word came out yesterday that, heh heh, they, er, didn't mean it
. But this "official" consideration of putting off elections follows months of trumpeting from the right that terrorists want John Kerry
to win anyway. Not to mention the administration's willful misinterpretation of the Madrid 3/11 bombings' effects on the Spanish elections
According to the conservative conventional wisdom, Spanish voters, in an appalling act of cowardice, reacted to the terrorist bombings in Madrid by ousting the party that had loyally supported the Bush administration's war on terror, and especially the war in Iraq. [. . .] The Aznar administration compounded the Popular Party's renewed problems by prematurely and tenaciously attributing the bombings to the radical Basque separatist group ETA. When evidence continued to mount that Al Qaeda, not ETA, was probably responsible for the atrocities, a good many Spanish voters concluded that the government was manipulating the tragedy for its own political advantage. They suspected (with good reason) that Aznar and his associates were trying to blame ETA to conceal the reality that the attacks were a payback for Spain's support of Washington's Iraq policy. Not surprisingly, voters did not react well to such attempts at self-serving political deception. Those Americans who accuse Spaniards of appeasement exhibit a lack of respect for the workings of Spain's democratic system. [. . .] The outcome of Spain's election was a referendum on Iraq policy, not policy toward Al Qaeda. Allegations of appeasement are a despicable slur against a population that has already suffered grievously.
All of this adds up to a very frightening possibility: The Bush administration, since it cannot win this November on the issues (have you seen the list of speakers
at their convention? How many of them
support Bush's reactionary social policy?), is attempting to scare
people into voting Republican, or not voting at all this November. This is the only time in my (admittedly short) lifetime that I can remember such a distinct emphasis or fear
as a campaign tactic. (I'm discounting Willie Horton
, as that appealed more to a more garden-variety paranoia about crime, rather than, you know, terror
. But note that, again, we have Republicans
playing the fear card!)
So, my questions: Should we really consider postponing elections in the case of terror? Are Bush et al.
trying to "scare up" votes out of fear rather than support for the administration's policy? If so, is that appropriate? Do the terrorists really want a take-no-prisoners, Harley-riding-without-a-helmet, Purple-Heart-winning John Kerry at the helm? If terrorists struck between now and November, would your vote change?
Jay Bullock, Iron Blogger Democrat