Monday, November 15, 2004

The "It's been 3 years" Debate

I've never known the Democrats to do a lot of intellectual cross-referencing, but I rarely see them present two seemingly contradictory positions side by side.

Until Sunday. During the panel segment on Fox News Sunday, I suddenly realized that two oft-touted liberal positions are actually in conflict.

First, on the question of John Ashcroft's record, Chris Wallace was asking the panel how much credit Ashcroft can take for the lack of terrorist attacks since 9/11. Mara Liasson said that it has only been 3 years and that "no one" expected an attack in this short period, citing the longer time span between the two attacks on the World Trade Center as evidence of this. Charles Krauthammer countered that people did expect an attack. He said they expected it 6 months after 9/11 and that there was much talk that planning would take a year and a half, and still nothing has happened.

Just a few minutes later, on the question of the Patriot Act, Juan Williams was trying to make the case that it infringes on civil liberties as relates to library records...or something. (Bill Kristol stepped up to take him to task on this, so I don't feel I need to here.) However, the point Juan wanted to make was that he understood that some parts of the Patriot Act are necessary in the immediate "aftermath of a terrorist attack" but the question now is should we "sunset" some of these things going forward.

Essentially, what he's asking is: It's been 3 years since 9/11, do we still need such strict monitoring tactics and strong law enforcement abilities?

So I'm left to wonder, was Juan Williams listening to Mara Liasson? If he was, he didn't disagree with her, as it seems he would have to in order to make the above argument.

The liberals can't talk down the success of Homeland Security and the entirety of Bush Administration in preventing terrorist attacks by saying that "it's only been 3 years" and at the same time advocate scaling down the Patriot Act because "it's been 3 years since 9/11 and we don't need to worry so much about terrorists".

It's possible that I could be misunderstanding these two positions. Perhaps they are more nuanced then I can ascertain and if so, I expect to hear back with some explanatory comments.

It's also possible that I'm right. Now, I've learned not to expect a lot of intellectual honesty out of Juan Williams, and so I'm not surprised that he would present the second statement. The same cannot be said of Mara Liasson and maybe she had a little talk with Juan about his views after the show.

But remember, it's the general understanding of the Michael Moore crowd that there "is no terrorist threat." Moreover, during the course of the campaign, we had a lot of discussion about the fact that Liberals didn't seem to understand the existence of the War on Terror. They understood the War in Iraq and stood firmly against it, but the War on Terror is another story. Juan's support of beginning to "sunset" portions of the Patriot Act is right in align with denying the terrorist threat and the War on Terror.

What can we conclude from all of this? I think it means the Democrats are still confused. They still don't have consistent talking points (American University's Jane Hall admitted this on Fox News Watch.) They need to pull it together if they have any chance of making a decent showing in 2006. First point they need to understand: There is a War on Terror and there is a worldwide terrorist threat.

I for one am thankful that both our re-elected President and his administration understand this threat and this war and they conduct business accordingly.