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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Politics of Fear

File under IOKIYAR:

With voters expressing anxiety about Iraq, nuclear attacks and the threat of terrorism in the first presidential election since Sept. 11, 2001, John F. Kerry and his supporters are adopting President Bush's strategy of playing on the public's security fears and sometimes using incendiary charges to stoke them.

Kerry, the Democratic National Committee and party officials have warned voters in recent weeks, sometimes without evidence, that a second Bush term could lead to greater casualties and another Vietnam in Iraq, a military draft, a secret call-up of reservists and even a nuclear attack on U.S. soil. They are also suggesting Osama bin Laden could remain a haunting and elusive threat unless the Democratic presidential nominee takes charge.

That's VandeHei and Kurtz on A1 of this morning's WaPo, and IOKIYAR means "it's OK if you're a Republican"--an acronym it took me a while to figure out after seeing on the blogs. Has there been such front-page commentary about Bush's doing the same things, insinuating a Kerry win means more terrorist attacks? Why draw such attention to Kerry doing something allegedly controversial when it's admittedly the same as what his opponent has been doing for a long time?

For the record, I dislike this style of campaigning, but I happen to think Kerry is right. Just look at the record of death and disaster on George Bush's watch thus far, and ask what more he might do unconstrained by the need to position himself for reeelection in 2008.