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No Longer a September 10 Election

The following should be posted at Townhall later today as well:

So far, this has been a September 10 election. Barack Obama's current lead in the polls is largely a result of the financial crisis which reached critical mass in September and cemented the economy as issue number one. Even though it has gotten slight attention over the past few weeks, national security is more important now than ever because the economy is inextricably tied to it. Anyone who doubts that just needs to be reminded of what the stock market did following the 9/11 attacks -- not to mention the individual effects on the airline, oil and other industries.

That case could (and should) have been made all along, but I admit it might have been a bit difficult to hear it over the frenzy of those attempting to fashion a multi-billion dollar bailout into a bandage to stop the bleeding Dow. Even the first debate, which was scheduled to be on John McCain's strongest issue, foreign policy and national security, was upstaged by the financial crisis and began with a discussion of the problems on Wall Street and the proposed solution. Even worse, McCain allowed Obama to use the debates to lay the blame for the financial crisis on "Bush's failed policies."

Throughout several weeks in September and October, not only did Republicans fail to remind voters how important our national security is to the economic security of the country, but they were ineffective in explaining how the actions (and inaction) of Democrats led to many of the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to the overall sub-prime mortgage mess. McCain did little to remind voters that he had not only warned of a coming crisis in 2005, but had co-sponsored legislation to address it -- legislation Democrats killed. Instead he rushed to Washington to sign onto a big government bailout bill.

Republicans had not only a strong case to make against Democrats on this issue, but even had video of Barney Frank and other Democrats saying there was no problem at Fannie or Freddie and that more loans should be made to those who couldn't afford them. That case, combined with McCain's strength on national security, might have prevented the surge Obama experienced in the polls over the past month. Since mid-September, though, it has been difficult for Republicans to discuss national security, and in the past anytime they have brought the issue up they have been accused of fear mongering. They have been in a bit of a tough spot.

Enter the spectacularly gaffetastic Joe Biden. When Joe Biden said there will almost certainly be (mark his words) a generated international crisis in Obama's first months in office to "test" him, he handed John McCain a great big beautiful gift. When he went on to say that many will question Obama's response to that crisis, he put a big fat bow on top of it. That opened the door for a return to discussion of Obama's comments about meeting with Iran without preconditions, his opposition to the surge in Iraq, and other questions of Obama's judgment relating to foreign policy and how unlikely it is that he would do what it takes to keep America safe.

Thanks to the Bush administration's success in preventing attacks over the past seven years, most Americans see the world much as they did on September 10, 2001. When I recently attended the North Carolina State Fair, not only was my backpack not checked, but I didn't even see a security guard when I entered the gate. I thought back on October 2001 and how thoroughly everything we took into the fairgrounds was searched and how I noticed anytime anyone set a bag on the ground, making sure they did not walk away from it.

At the airport we are still checked almost as well as we were immediately following the 9/11 attacks, but it has simply become a routine. I no longer think about it like I did when the shoe checks and other new rules were first instituted. I suspect that most are like me in that respect and in many ways are now living in a September 10 state of mind.

Although the issue is no longer at the top of many voters' checklists, it is more important now than ever that we not risk another terrorist attack. Voters should realize that not only would another attack cost precious lives, but now more than ever we would also pay in dollars and cents.

Biden's comments opened the door to the issue of national security, but since then several things have happened to draw additional attention in that direction. These are things voters should consider before casting their ballots.

Democrat Barney Frank recently expressed his desire to see the U.S. military budget cut by twenty-five percent. With a Democrat President and majorities in the House and Senate there would not be much to stop him. A group of veterans led by retiring Virginia Senator John Warner warned of dire consequences in a press conference this week. "If a cut of that magnitude were to hit, it would reduce our economy, but we think professionally, all of us, it would weaken our nation's defense."

Former prisoner of war Capt. John Coffee was a bit more direct, "Hell, yes, we're going to be less safe. It's not rocket science, when you reduce our defense spending by 25 percent."

"Senator Obama doesn't have a clue about the military, honest to God. I don't think he's even been around them," added Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Pat Bradley.

Groups comprised of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced several ads in support of John McCain, with many of them pointing out that Obama did not support the troop surge in Iraq. Obama did not believe the surge would work. He said we could not win in Iraq. Harry Reid said we had already lost. If Obama had been president two years ago he would have withdrawn our troops in defeat and disgrace and the country of Iraq would now be a haven for terrorists. Al Qaeda and Iran would be heralding their defeat of the Great Satan.

This week Al Qaeda posted a video on the internet which included a pre-election message. Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, "O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him."

What happens in Iraq and the rest of the world impacts our economy, as reflected in the stock market and oil prices, among other things. On policy regarding Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and other hot spots, Barack Obama is very vulnerable. For the next four days that is where I would hit him hardest, while at the same time making the case that a strong foreign policy and national security make for strong economic security.

Due to the money Obama has spent, the media participation in the election on his behalf, and the mayhem that is ACORN voter registration, John McCain faces what appears to be an almost impossible feat. The key word there is "almost." It would be much easier if he had a couple of weeks to go, but he only has about four days. I hope he makes the most of them.


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Comments (14)

Lorie.The biggest ... (Below threshold)


The biggest issue facing the US and world right now is the fall out from the sub prime mortgage crisis; prolonged recessions, unemployment, depression maybe.

To suggest that National Security and the War on Terror, the greatest lie ever told, is still a major issue is fear mongering to the extreme. Islamic terrorism is not to be belittled, they still pose a threat, they always will, but not to the extent that you suggest as they have taken a serious beating over the last few years. Amateur political hacks such as yourself are using the War on Terror and the threat of an Al Qeeda attack as tools of fear to further your own cause.

On the one hand, you describe Iraq as this quaint little country returning to peace after years of bombardment, and brag about just how successful the "Surge" was, yet you will scare the living daylights out of the gullible that Al Qeeda are still a major credible threat.

You can not have it both ways.

James, I observe you are av... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

James, I observe you are avoiding the substance of the post, instead settling for snide personal smears.

You do not advance your case by using such tactics.

James, if you state that Al... (Below threshold)

James, if you state that Al Queda is no longer a major credible threat, then just how were they reduced to a minor threat?

You might want to admit that the surge had something to do with it.

DJThere are no sni... (Below threshold)


There are no snide remarks there at all unless of course you consider the phrase "amateur political hack" snide? I dont, because it is fact.

As to the substance of the piece, I think I have addressed the main issues, that of propogating fear, a tactic used by Bush throughout his term of office. Keep people frightened, talk tough and give the impression that you are defending the country can only last so long.

Those who are critical of Bush are accused of having Bush Derangement Syndrome. It seems to me that there are alot of people who have a similar fear of Obama? I think Obama will be as good a President as Bush, that is, an unmitigated disaster.

No offence intended.

Former prisoner of war C... (Below threshold)

Former prisoner of war Capt. John Coffee was a bit more direct, "Hell, yes, we're going to be less safe. It's not rocket science, when you reduce our defense spending by 25 percent."

American defense spending: nearly fifty percent that of the world total, even adjusted for purchasing power.

American population that spending is protecting: Roughly 5 percent of the world total.

Not making a value judgment here. Just throwing out some figures that I found interesting.

I think cutting the militar... (Below threshold)

I think cutting the military budget/weakening our military is going to be adding a completely unnecessary amount of insecurity to the american public on top of what they feel with the problems in the economy.

Not only do you have to worry about what an Obama presidency and democratic power in the congress going to do to our economy, you will have to worry that cutting the defense budget is going to open us up to the same attacks from outside and inside the country.

Parthenon your post contain... (Below threshold)

Parthenon your post contained two key points...both of which are woefully inaccurate.

First: "American defense spending: nearly fifty percent that of the world total, even adjusted for purchasing power".
==> Total up all the armies, navies and air forces of the world. NOW, start just with the number of HUMANS...and assume everyone got paid the same rate per rank. NEXT, look at the total infrastructure, hardware and logistial costs associated with all those armies, navies, and air forces worldwide, and assume equal pay for labor, and level costs for gas, food, etc.
Total all THOSE up and we represent a VERY tiny percent of worldwide defense expenditures.
China,for example, with a VAST number of people under arms, pays most of them slave wages...North Korea too. Those, et al, have to be adjusted to an even playing field or your comparison is utterly invalid.

Seoncd: "American population that spending is protecting: Roughly 5 percent of the world total."
==> Like or not this is just NOT true.
For better or worse, we ARE the World's Policeman! Many nations maintain very tiny militaries BECAUSE we are their to directly or indirectly defend them, and/or deter aggression AGAINST them.

When fairly adjusted for total REAL VALUE spend (i.e., how many soldiers are paid, etc), and then fairly adjusted for the number of people we ACTUALLY defend (directly or indirectly), the ratio is not the silly one you suggest in your post.


There's some good points J.... (Below threshold)

There's some good points J.R.

As I said I wasn't making a judgment based upon those numbers, just repeating what I'd read. I see what you mean how they can be somewhat misleading. Salaries are trending upward in the Chinese army but from what I've gathered they are still well below those of the western powers.

We'd need to see a breakdown, not just the raw numbers, to know whether there was much fat that could be cut. I, for one, don't consider servicepeople salaries to be fat. They ought to be comparable to a similar private sector position, if not a bit higher.

We're going to have to stop being the world's policemen. It's going to happen in this century, my guess - within yours and my lifetime.

A 25% cut in defense spendi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

A 25% cut in defense spending would not only kill development of new weapon systems, it would mean the layoffs for tens of thousands of military personnel and the civilian workers who directly support them. Any savings will just be swallowed up by further stimulus packages needed to offset the downturn in the economy triggered by the cuts in defense spending.

A 25% cut in defense spending will cost a lot of politicians their positions in the next election if there's another significant attack on U.S. soil. That could be an overall plus if it brings Republicans back into the majority.

Amateur political hacks such as yourself are using the War on Terror and the threat of an Al Qeeda attack as tools of fear to further your own cause.

Using fear as a tool to further his own cause is exactly what Obama bin lying is doing with economic, tax and health care issues. When liberals stop using fear as a tool to further their own cause then you'll have a case. Until then it's a non-starter.

One of the most disturbing promises Obama bin lying has made is to scrap the missile defense shield. When it comes to national defense the guy is just stupid, ignorant and gullible.

Does james not get the incr... (Below threshold)

Does james not get the incredible irony of him showing off an ignorant, september 10th mindset in a post titled "No longer a September 10th election?"

50% of the total spending e... (Below threshold)

50% of the total spending eh? Maybe they should charge the nations that get by without as much spending because the US-Mil is there and on call. Like Canada and Mexico, large swaths of Europe...
Aside from the size of the military, there is the issue of quality. The US has nuclear powered ships that can stay out at sea and go anywhere, only limited by the food they carry to feed the crew. Lovely carriers that can provide fresh water after natural disasters, for instance. These ships aren't cheap to build, maintain or research.
Planes, tanks, guns, training, etc, the US-mil has top-tier capacity. The rear-echelon units make many nations front line units look like the Boy Scouts. ;)

james - "There are no s... (Below threshold)

james - "There are no snide remarks there at all unless of course you consider the phrase "amateur political hack" snide? I dont, because it is fact."

Well then, based on that train of thought, you're a USDA Prime Choice A-Hole.

(NOTE: Your results may vary, but this comment is not *snide", it's a fact Jack!)

Justrand - "For better ... (Below threshold)

Justrand - "For better or worse, we ARE the World's Policeman! Many nations maintain very tiny militaries BECAUSE we are their to directly or indirectly defend them, and/or deter aggression AGAINST them."

Case in point - NATO.

Pay close attention to Afghanistan, NATO forces there in large part aren't "taking the fight" to the enemy. Some due to political limitations sit on the sideline, others are severely restricted due to those small budgets and small militaries.

For over five decades the militaries of NATO have been under the umbrella of U.S. forces in the EU that has led them to spend their tax dollars elsewhere.

As for being the "world's policeman," that cuts both ways.

No other military in the world could have provided the support the U.S. Navy did after the Indonesian Tsunami. No other air force could have provided the cargo transport available and in use after the Bam, Iran earthquake in 2003.

MarcIs that the be... (Below threshold)


Is that the best that you can contribute to this debate? You are not worthy of a reply, but suffice to say, you are nothing but a moron, a waste of space.


It is a widely held belief that irony is lost on Americans, they just dont get it! To accuse me of irony is out and out stupidity.

Unlike yourself, I dont fall for the BS that I read in the press, even more so, on so called weblogs. Think about it for a moment; what we are reading are the ramblings of "Joe the plumber" and the "hockey Moms". What real life experinces do they have, that qualifies them to speak with such authority on politics, the Middle East or any matter for that matter. In other words, their opinions are only opinions, they are not Gospel.

So, we have a few early 40 somethings writing about the election and the War on Terror. Big deal. Some of it is interesting, some of it is insighful, but most of it partisan BS.

As for showing a September 10th mindset, I am pretty sure that you would not have had a clue where the Middle East is, where Afghanistan is, and nor would you have had any concept of what was going on in the world, save for your own neighbourhood.

And now you think you can lecture me and anybody else that has the audacity to take issue with you, about ignorance and irony, is frankly hilarious.

However, the really hilarious thing is that here we are wasting the other's time on a debate, which in all earnest is futile as you are unlikely to agree with me, as I am with you.






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