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Fear factor

Lawrence Haws wrote me the other day and pointed out that Bush recently said it was “up in the air” whether we could ever be safe from another terrorist attack. He said this disproves my assertion that Bush pretends he can keep us safe.

True enough! And Kerry responded to Bush’s comment by saying that he was going to win the war on terror, which is just as ridiculous when Kerry says it as it is when Bush says it. Terror is not an opponent, it’s a tactic.

Of course, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, promptly said that “The president said we can win the war on terror and we will win the war on terror.” So it’s not as if Bush and his team are going to stand by their admission, any more than Bush stood by his comments at the GOP convention when he said he didn’t think it was possible to win the war on terror.

Bush wants us to think he can keep us safe. So does Kerry. Every now and then the truth slips out — I really liked Kerry’s comments to the New York Times, when he explained that he wanted to reduce the threat of terrorism until it doesn’t affect the fabric of our everyday lives. And every time it slips out, the other side pounces on it and uses it as a stick. I don’t particularly see either campaign occupying high moral ground here.

With one caveat: Kerry, so far, has not told Americans that they will be nuked if Bush wins.

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