SHE NEVER SHOULD'VE SAID IT, BUT SHE'S RIGHT
Oh, crap -- we're never going to hear the end of this:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday raised the prospect of a terror attack before next year's election, warning that it could boost the GOP's efforts to hold on to the White House.
..."It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord....
Scott Lemieux, though he's angry at Hillary for saying it, thinks this is true to some extent, but he seems to believe (note his link) it would all be the media's fault:
Clinton is correct in the sense that the idea that everything is good for Republicans will get a more respectful hearing than it deserves.
Matthew Yglesias, also expressing his disgust, shows us why Democrats lose elections:
I think the Democrat best positioned to deal with GOP political mobilization in a post-attack environment is going to be the one who isn't reflexively inclined to see failed Republican policies resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Americans as a political advantage for the Republicans.
The other is that I think there's a pretty clear sense in which the further one is from Bush's Iraq policy, the easier it is politically to say that the failures of Bush's national security policy should be blamed on Bush's failed policies. Obama has a straight shot ("this is why we should have fought al-Qaeda like I said") and Edwards (and Matt Yglesias) has a straightish one ("this is why we should have fought al-Qaeda like I think in retrospect") ...
No. No. No. You don't get it.
If we're attacked again, the response will be pure reptile brain -- no thought involved. We have a Daddy in the White House and we'll cleave to Daddy, hoping Daddy will make it allgone. The media will abet the process, but the process will start in the most primitive part of most Americans' psyches, the part the GOP has been relentlessly massaging at least since Reagan.
Matt, you think we could talk our way through this? You think reason would be an effective weapon? Oh, please. America won't react to a terrorist attack by reading candidates' positions -- it'll react like this. Do me a favor, Matt, and please don't ever become a political consultant, and if you do, please don't work for anybody I want to vote for.
Which is not to say that Hillary should have said this. She shouldn't have -- not because she's wrong, but because she should have known it would go through the right-wing truth mutation machine and come out utterly distorted. And so it has: Already her statement is being distorted as (my paraphrase) Hillary Clinton thinks another terrorist attack would be bad not because it would kill Americans, but because it would help the GOP. For more distortions, read any Murdoch paper or right-wing blog in the next several days, or just watch any political talk show this coming Sunday.
So, yeah, Hillary committed a gaffe, but she also told the truth.