BUSH WAS ON THE SAME PAGE AS JOHN KERRY WHEN COMMENTING in October 2001 on the Israeli-Palestinian terrorism and arguing that he was not absent from the peace process. He said:
. . .we are fully committed to working with both sides to bring the level of terror down to an acceptable level for both. And I fully understand that progress is made in centimeters in the Middle East. And we believe we’re making some progress.
In Matt Bai’s New York Times Magazine interview with Kerry, he writes:
We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,” the article states as the Massachusetts senator’s reply.
“As a former law enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”
Kerry’s comments make a lot of sense to me. Kerry is arguing that we need to get back to a world of higher trust and lower fear — whereas the Bush campaign seems bent on justifying themselves through a high fear/low trust approach to managing this country.
Bush’s comments today are nonsensical bravado — and Kerry’s are honest and straightforward. America is going to have some degree of instability that it needs to ratchet down but not let our paranoia about terror become a justification for a police state.
I really missed the convulsions over this comment on Sunday as I was traveling and offline — but the tenor of Marc Racicot’s, Ed Gillespie’s, and even George Bush’s response to Kerry is that he has uttered some politically incorrect notion about having to learn to live with a certain low level expectation of terror, at least for a while.
This is exactly what was implied in George Bush’s own comments above in October 2001 — and was implied when Bush told Americans that the best way that they can help America during its time of crisis was to keep shopping, flying planes, and going to the malls.
In September 2001, Bush said:
. . .one of the great goals of this nation’s war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It’s to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America’s great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.
Doesn’t anyone remember Bush’s comments? Why does the President think that he can be so holier than thou on this one?
Bush and his team seem intoxicated by a righteousness about this war and are ruthlessly exploiting 9/11 to remain in power. It’s wrong.
— Steve Clemons